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GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD 



Introductory Volumes: 
(L)A Liberal Education 

2. The Great Ideas I 

3. The Great Ideas II 

@ HOMER 

@ AESCHYLUS 
SOPHOCLES 
EURIPIDES 
ARISTOPHANES 

g) HERODOTUS 
THUCYDIDES 

7. PLATO 

8. ARISTOTLE I 

9. ARISTOTLE II 

10. HIPPOCRATES 
,/GALEN 

11. EUCLID 
ARCHIMEDES 
APOLLONIUS 
NICOMACHUS 



^2) LUCRETIUS 
EPICTETUS 
MARCUS AURELIUS 

(Q. VIRGIL 
<Q. PLUTARCH 
TACITUS 

16. PTOLEMY 
COPERNICUS 
KEPLER 

PLOTINUS 

@ AUGUSTINE 

(g) THOMAS AQUINAS I 

(^l THOMAS AQUINAS II 

<2T) DANTE 

CHAUCER 

@ MACHIAVELLI 
HOBBES 

0RABELAIS 
@ MONTAIGNE 
(^6) SHAKESPEARE I 
(0 SHAKESPEARE II 



GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLl 



28. GILBERT 
GALILEO 
HARVEY 

. CERVANTES 
<gl FRANCIS BACON 

31. DESCARTES 
SPINOZA 

(2) MILTON 

33. PASCAL 

34. NEWTON 
HUYGENS 

35. LOCKE 
BERKELEY 
HUME 

@ SWIFT 
.STERNE 

<33 FIELDING 

(||, MONTESQUIEU 
ROUSSEAU 

($j) ADAM SMITH 
GIBBON I 



<jl GIBBON II 
42. KANT 

<H) AMERICAN STATE 

PAPERS 

THE FEDERALIST 
J. S. MILL 

<33> BOSWELL 

45. LAVOISIER 
FOURIER 
FARADAY 

46. HEGEL 
GOETHE 
MELVILLE 

49. DARWIN 

50. MARX 
ENGELS 

TOLSTOY 

52. DOSTOEVSKY 

53. WILLIAM JAMES 

54. FREUD 



OSMAN1A UNIVERSITY LIBRARY 

da^liftf^tom 
Author ffi^fHi, R . ft. 



This book should be returned on or before the'date 
last marked below. 



GREAT BOOKS 
OF THE WESTERN WORLD 

ROBERT MAYNARD HUTCHINS, EDITOR IN CHIEF 



L 
THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



MORTIMER J. ADLER, Associate Editor 

Members of the Advisory Board: STRINGFELLOW BARR, SCOTT BUCHANAN, JOHN ERSKINB, 

CLARENCE H. FAUST, ALEXANDER MEIKLBJOHN, JOSEPH J. SCHWAB, MARK VAN DORBN, 

Editorial Consultants; A, F. B. CLARK, F. L. LUCAS, WALTER MURDOCH. 

WALLACE BROCKWAY, Executive Editor 



&THE 
GREAT CONVERSATION 

The Substance of a Liberal Education 



BY ROBERT M. HUTCHINS 





WILLIAM BENTON, Publisher 

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC. 

CHICAGO LONDON TORONTO 



The quotations, with permission, used by Mr. Hutchins in this volume 
are from the following sources: 
Aims of Education by Alfred N. Whitchcad (The Macmillan Company, 

19x9) 
Am I My Brother '/ Keeper? by Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (The John Day 

Company Inc., 1947) 

Democracy and Education by John Dewey (The Macmillan Company, 1916) 
On Education by Sir Richard Livingstone (Cambridge University Press, 

1944) 

On Understanding Science by James B. Conant (Yale University Press, 1947) 
Selected Essays by T. S. Eliot (Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., 1950) 
"Social Science Among the Humanities" by Robert Rcdficld, in Measure, 

vol. i, no. i (Henry Regncry Company, 1950) 
Quotations from Louis W, Norris and John D. Wild arc from comments 

in Goals For American Education (The Conference on Science, Philosophy 

and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., 

distributed by Harper & Brothers, 1950) 



COPYRIGHT IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, 1952, 

BY ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC. 

COPYRIGHT 1952. COPYRIGHT UNDER INTERNATIONAL COPYRIGHT UNION BY 

ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED UNDER PAN AMERICAN 
COPYRIGHT CONVENTIONS BY ENCYCLOPEDIA BRITANNICA, INC. 

First Printing, 1952 

Second Printing, 7955 

Third Printing, 7957 



& Great Books of the Western World 

ROBERT MAYNARD HUTCHINS, Editor 
MORTIMER J. ADLER, Associate Editor 

Members of the Advisory Board 

STRINGFBLLOW BARR, Professor of History in the University 
of Virginia, and formerly President of St. John's College 
in Annapolis, Maryland 

SCOTT BUCHANAN, philosopher, and formerly Dean of St. 
John's College 

JOHN ERSKINE, novelist, and formerly Professor of English in 
Columbia University 

CLARENCE FAUST, President of the Fund for the Advancement 
of Education, and formerly Dean of the Humanities and 
Sciences in Leland Stanford University 

ALEXANDER MEIKLEJOHN, philosopher, and formerly Chair- 
man of the School for Social Studies in San Francisco 

JOSEPH SCHWAB, scientist, and Professor in the College of the 
University of Chicago 

MARK VAN DOREN, poet, and Professor of English in Colum- 
bia University 

Editorial Consultants 

CANADA: A. F. B. CLARK, Professor of French Literature 
in the University of British Columbia, Canada 

ENGLAND: F. L. LUCAS, Fellow and Lecturer of King's 
College, Cambridge, England 

AUSTRALIA: WALTER MURDOCH, Professor of English Lit- 
erature in the University of Western Australia 



Great Books of the Western World 

THIS PRIVATE LIBRARY EDITION 
of Great Books of the Western World was originally 
made possible in 19 j 2 by the generous support of the subscribers 
to the Founders' Edition. The Publisher and Editors are grate- 
ful to those who, by their subscription at a cost of fjoo a set 
to the limited Founders' Edition of joo sets, facilitated the 
general publication of these books. 

In addition to individual persons^ the subscription list in* 
eluded business corporations and educational institutions li- 
braries or schools. Some subscribers purchased sets for themselves 
and some donated the sets they purchased to educational institu- 
tions. 

Listed below are the names of the subscribers to, and the donors 
and recipients oj, the Founders? Edition of Great Books of the 
Western World. The names of a certain number of subscribers 
and donors have been withheld at their request. The listing is 
divided into the following four groups: 

L Individual Persons who subscribed to one or 
more sets for themselves or for donation to 
educational institutions 

IL Business Corporations which subscribed to sets 
for their own use or for donation to educa- 
tional institutions 



Ill Educational Institutions which subscribed to 
sets for their own use, and philanthropic or- 
ganizations which donated sets to educational 
institutions 

IV. Educational Institutions which have been des- 
ignated as recipients of gift sets 

In the first three lists an asterisk after the name of the person, 
business corporation, or philanthropic organisation indicates 
subscribers to two or more sets, or donors of sets to educational in- 
stitutions. Except for those whose names are withheld at their 
request, the names of donors are indicated in the fourth list in 
parentheses after the name of the educational institution which 
received the gift set from them. 



JOHN CHARLES ACTON 

Mrs. SARAH WOOD ADDINOTON 

JAMES R ALBRIGHT 

BERNICE WELLS ALDRIDGB 

Dr. HECTOR M. DA VILA ALONSO 

CHARLES LESLEY AMES 

CLINTON P. ANDERSON* 

J. M. ARVEY 

C H. BABCOCK 

GEORGE BACKER 

GEORGE R BAKER, Jr.* 

Mrs. JAMES H. BECKER 

PAUL E BECKER 

S. N. BEHRMAN 

LAIRD BELL 

The Rt. Hon. DAVID BEN-GURION 

Mr. and Mrs. CLAYTON W. BERNHARDT* 

PHILIP CASE BIGGERT 

V&LTER R. BlMSON 

Mrs. TIFFANY BLAKE* 

Mr. and Mrs. CARLETON BLUNT* 



CORWIN HEFRIGHT BOATS 

\ 

GEORGE C BOLIAN II 

J. A. BOLZ, M.D. 

EDWIN G. Booz 

FREDERIC M. BOSWORTH* 

SCOTT BUCHANAN* 

WALTHER BUCHEN 

BRITTON L BUDD* 

LEO BURNETT 

Mrs. ADELAIDE CAMERON 

FRANK CAPRA 

Mrs. JOHN ALDEN CARPENTER 

ALFRED T. CARTON* 

Rev. CHARLES S. CASASSA, S.J. 

JOSEPH and MARGARET CHADWICK 

Mrs. GILBERT W. CHAPMAN 

ALFREDO CHAVERO 

JOHN TIMOTHY CHORD 

JACK F. CHRYSLER 

GARLETON A* CLEVELAND* 

EDWARD L. CLISSOLD 

Mr. and Mrs. MARVIN H. COLEMAN 

EDWARD LYON COMPERE, M.D. 

FAIRFAX. M. CONE 



JOHN COWLES* 
ABRAHAM M. DAVIS 

J. LlONBERGER DAVIS* 
E. DfiGoLYER* 

EDISON DICK* 

Mr. and Mrs. GAYLORD DONNELLEY 

Mr. and Mrs. JAMES H. DOUGLAS, Jr. 

GORDON DUKE 

ALFRED K. EDDY* 

C. FRASER ELLIOTT, C.M.G., K.G 
Mrs. ARTHUR E. ENGLISH* 
MAX EPSTEIN 

ARMAND GROVER ERPF 

D. C EVEREST* 

Dr. HAROLD E. FARMER 
MILLARD C FAUGHT 
HARRY G. FERNQUIST 
MARSHALL FIELD 
MARSHALL FIELD, Jr. 
RICHARD J. FINNEGAN 
CLARK W. FINNERUD, M.D 
MORRIS FISHBEIN, M.D. 
Louis WILLIAM FORREY 
CHARLES Y. FREEMAN* 



Mr. and Mrs. A. J. FREILER 

EDWARD P. GALLAGHER 

EDWARD F. GALLAHUE 

Mr. and Mrs. ROBERT W. GALVIN 

Mr. and Mrs. OTTO EMIL GEPPERT 

Mr. and Mrs. GERALD S. GIDWITZ 

A. M. GILBERT 

ALFRED C. GLASSELL, Jr. 

RICHARD E. GOLD 

JOEL GOLDBLATT 

WILLIAM T. GOLDEN 

BENEDICT K. GOODMAN 

PIERRE F. GOODRICH* 

ALBERT H. GORDON 

EDWARD R. GOULD 

CHARLES M. GRACE* 

Mr. and Mrs. ALAN R. GRAFF 

HENRY S. GRIFFING 

VICENTE LEON GUERRERO 

EUNICE F. HALE* 

JAKE L HAMON 

IRVING BROOKS HARRIS 

Dr. EMIL D. W. HAUSER 

R. E. HAVENSTRITE 



WILL H. HAYS 

Dr. and Mrs. PAUL G. HENLEY 

BURNS HENRY, Jr. 

HENRY H. HILL 

CONRAD N. HILTON 

WM. A. HIRSH, Jr. 

OVETA GULP HOBBY 

PAUL G. HOFFMAN 

ALBERT L. HOPKINS 

Mr. and Mrs. CYRIL O. HOULE 

G. T. HOWSON and J. H. MICHENBR* 

A. NORMAN INTO* 

Sr. MANUEL SENDEROS IRIGOYEN 

R. G. IVEY 

PROEHL HALLER JAKLON 

SIDNEY L. JAMES 

Mr. and Mrs. MERLIN E. JOHNSON 

Col. KILBOURNE JOHNSTON, U.S.A. (Ret.) 

Mr. and Mrs. J. LEDDY JONES* 

Mr. and Mrs. JACK S. JOSEY 

Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM H. JOYCE, Jr. 

GEORGE T. KEATING* 

JOHN R KENNEY 

MEYER KESTNBAUM 



WILLARD V. KING* 

GEOFFREY KNIGHT 

JOHN S. KNIGHT 

R. C KRAMER* 

ROY E. LARSEN 

SAM LAUD 

MARC A. LAW 

Dr. THEODORE K. LAWLESS 

JEFFREY L. LAZARUS 

FOREMAN M. LEBOLD* 

DAVID LESTER 

HENRY R. LEVY* 

ISAAC D. LEVY* 

CHARLES W. LEWIS 

HAROLD R LINDER* 

WALTER LIPPMANN 

GLEN A. LLOYD* 

Mr. and Mrs. HENRY A. LOEB* 

JOHN LANGELOTH LOEB* 

NANNA RASMUSSEN LOTHE 

IRWIN J. LUBBERS 

HENRY R. LUCE 

HUGHSTON M. McBAIN 

CHARLES R MCCARTHY 



FOWLER McCoRMicK 

JOHN WRIGHT McGHEE 

ARTHUR B. MCGLOTHLAN, M.D., F.A.GR. 

EARLE McKAY 

ZACHARY McKAY 

Mr. and Mrs. GEORGE B. McKiBBiN* 

ALAN ROBERT McNABB 

ANDREW McNALLY HI 

LEWIS W. MACNAUGHTON 

JOHN W. MALONEY* 

FRED L. MANDEL, Jr. 

Col. LEON MANDEL 

JOSEPH L. MANKIEWICZ 

JAMES A. MARKLE 

WIRT P. MARKS, Jr. 

ARTHUR F. MARQUETTE 

Mr. and Mrs. SAMUEL A, MARX 

MORTON D. MAY 

PAUL MELLON* 

Mrs. THOMAS A. MELLON* 

JOHN P. MENTZER 

Dr. HENRY MEZGER 

OLIUS P. MICHAELS 

MARVIN MILLSAP 



Mr. and Mrs. CARLBTON MITCHELL 

Mrs. CHARLOTTE L MORSE 

BERNARD MORTIMER 

SOL MORTON 

CARL R MOSES 

ROBERT C MUNNECKE 

ELBERT HAVEN NEESE 

WALTER GUSTAV NELSON 

JOHN NUVEEN 

Mr. and Mrs. J. SANFORD OTIS 

WALTER P. PAEPCKE 

WILLIAM S. PALEY 

Mrs. POTTER PALMER 

THOMAS BVRRAN, M.D.* 

Miss ALICIA PATTERSON 

ROBERT POLLAK* 

RONALD PRICE, M.D. 

GEORGE R PROBST 

ANDREW R PROPPER 

B. EARL PUCKETT 

ERNEST R QUANTRELL 

HENRY REONERY 

ETHEL LINDER REINER 

RAYMOND H. REISS 



HERMAN HENRY RIDDER 
GEORGE RIEVESCHL, Jr. 
JOEL ROCHA, Jr. 
Mrs. WILLIAM M. ROGERS 
CHARLES J. ROSBNBLOOM* 

M. A. ROSENTHAL 

LESSING J. ROSENWALD 
GEORGE W. ROSSETTER 
RAYMOND RUBICAM 
ARTHUR L. H. RUBIN* 
Mrs. CLIVE RUNNELLS* 
ROBERT J. RUSH 
Mrs. PAUL S. RUSSELL 
WM. J. SAMFORD 
HARRY W. SCHACTER 
HARRY SCHERMAN* 
SYDNEY KL SCHIFF 

WlLLEM C SCHILTHUIS 

ADOLPH W. SCHMIDT 

M. LINCOLN SCHUSTER 

CHARLES WARD SEABURY 

Mr. and Mrs. GEORGE L. SEATON 

LESTER N. SELIG 

JOHN LAWSON SENIOR, Jr. 



ALFRED SHAW 

WILFRED L. SHEA 

Mr. and Mrs. RENSLOW P. SHERER* 

LEO J. SHERIDAN 

WICKLIFFE SHREVE 

HENRY CARLTON SHULL* 

Mr. and Mrs. Louis H. SILVER* 

JOHN L. SIMPSON 

TOM SLICK 

RALPH H. SMALE 

WILLIAM A. SMITH 

TRUE E. SNOWDEN* 

Mr. and Mrs. JOHN V SPACHNER 

A. N. SPANEL* 

ALBERT B. SPECTOR 

LEO SPITZ* 

THOS. G. STALEY 

Mr. and Mrs. W, T. STALTER* 

Mr. and Mrs. JAY Z. STEINBERG 

Mr. and Mrs. WILLIAM SHERMAN STREET 

Mrs. RALPH SULLIVANT 

ELBERT GARY SUTCLIFFE* 

Mrs. ALDEN B. SWIFT 

CLAIRE D. SWIFT* 



HAROLD H. SWIFT* 

H. J. SZOLD* 

MAURICE JOSEPH TAYLOR, M.D. 

M. E. TRAPP, Jr. 

DONALD S. TRUMBULL* 

ADOLPH ULLMAN 

ALFRED G. VANDERBILT 

GALEN VAN METER 

ROBERT and ANNE VAN \^LKENBUROH 

CHARLES VIDOR 

Dr. HAROLD C VORIS 

CHARLES R. \\&XGREEN, Jr. 

WILLIAM M. WARD 

GEORGE H. \^TKINS 

JAMES B. WEBBER, Jr. 

RICHARD WEIL, Jr. 

ERIC W. WEINMANN 

DONALD P. WELLES 

EDWARD K. WELLES 

ROBERT AVERY WHITNEY 

Louis STODDARD WILDER 

Mrs. LYNN A. WILLIAMS 

RAYMOND H. WITTCOFF 

MAX WOOLPY 



THOMAS R. YGLESIAS 
JAMBS WBBB YOUNG* 
BEN D. ZEVIN 

HERBERT P. ZIMMERMANN 
ESTHER SOMERFELD-ZISKIND, MD., and 
EUGENE ZISKIND, M.D. 



American Typesetting Corporation, Chicago, Illinois 

C C Anderson Company, Boise, Idaho* 

C, C Anderson Company, Ogden, Utah* 

Arthur Young & Company, Chicago, Illinois 

Barnes- Woodin, Yakima, Washington* 

The Bon Marche, Everett, Washington* 

The Bon Marche, Longview, Washington* 

The Bon Marche, Spokane, Washington* 

The Bon Marche, Tacoma, Washington* 

The Bon Marche, Walla Walla, Washington* 

The Bon Ton, Lebanon, Pennsylvania* 

Container Corporation of America, Chicago, Illinois 

Converse Rubber Corporation, Maiden, Massachusetts 

Courier Journal & Louisville Times, Louisville, Kentucky 

Dey Bros. & Company, Syracuse, New York* 

L. S. Donaldson Company, Rapid City, South Dakota* 

Doubleday & Company, Inc., New York, New York 

The L H. Field Company, Jackson, Michigan* 

Geneva Steel Company, Geneva, Utah* 

Hardy-Herpolsheimer Company, Muskegon, Michigan* 

Hecr's, Inc., Springfield, Missouri* 



Herpolsheimer Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan* 

Joske's of Texas, San Antonio, Texas* 

Kennecott Copper Corporation, Chino Mines Division, 

Hurley, New Mexico* 

Wm. Laubach & Sons, Easton, Pennsylvania* 
Maas Bros., Tarn-pa, Florida* 
Marshall Field & Company, Chicago, Illinois 
Metzger- Wright Company, Warren, Pennsylvania* 
The Meyer's Company, Greensboro, North Carolina* 
Michigan National Bank, Lansing, Michigan* 
The Muller Company, Ltd., Lake Charles, Louisiana* 
The Paris of Montana, Great Falls, Montana* 
The Parker Pen Company, Janesville, Wisconsin 
Pepperidge Farm, Inc., Norwalk, Connecticut 

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Walter H. Annenberg, 

Editor and Publisher, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 
A. Polsky & Company, Akron, Ohio* 
Pomeroy's, Inc., Pottsville, Pennsylvania* 
Pomeroy's, Inc., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania* 
Potash Company of America, Carlsbad, New Mexico* 
Quackenbush Company, Paterson, New Jersey* 
The Rollman & Sons Company, Cincinnati, Ohio* 
Salomon Bros. & Hutzler, New York, New York* 
Standard Oil Company (Indiana), Chicago, Illinois 



Sterling-Lindner-Davis Company, Cleveland Ohio* 
Time Inc., Library, New York, New York 
The Titche-Goettinger Company, Dallas, Texas* 
A. E. Troutman Company, Greensburg, Pennsylvania* 
A. E. Troutman Company, Indiana, Pennsylvania* 
United States Potash Company, New York, New York 
Westinghouse Educational Center, Wilkinsburg, 
Pennsylvania 



Bates College, Lewiston, Maine 

Champlain College Library, State University of New 
York, Plattsburg, New York 

Colleges of the Seneca: Hobart College, William Smith 
College, Geneva, New York 

The Cranbrook Foundation, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan 

Department of Education (Mariano Villaronga, Com- 
missioner of Education), San Juan, Puerto Rico 

Department of Social Sciences, United States Military 
Academy, West Point, New York 

Detroit Public Library, Detroit, Michigan 

Erin Bain Jones Library of Comparative Literature, 
Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas 

The Fund for Adult Education, Pasadena, California 

The Fund for the Advancement of Education, New 
York, New York 

Friends of Charles H. Compton, St. Louis, Missouri* 
Friends of the Oak Park Library, Oak Park, Illinois* 

Gertrude Kistler Memorial Library, Rosemont College, 
Kosemont, Pennsylvania 

Great Books Discussion Leaders, Berkeley, California* 



Huntington Hartford Foundation, Pacific Palisades, 
California 

Illinois State Library, Springfield, Illinois 

Iwate University, Morioka, Japan 

Kent State University Library, Kent, Ohio 

The Library, Southwestern at Memphis, Memphis, 
Tennessee 

Lincoln Library, Springfield, Illinois 
Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 
Minneapolis Athenaeum, Minneapolis, Minnesota 

Northern Illinois State Teachers College, De Kalb, 
Illinois 

North Texas State College Library, Denton, Texas 
Oklahoma City Libraries, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 
Purdue University Libraries, Lafayette, Indiana 
The Robert D. Sanders Foundation, Jackson, Mississippi* 

St. Mary's College of California, Saint Mary's College, 
California 

St. Paul Public Library, St. Paul, Minnesota 

St. Vincent College Library, Latrobe, Pennsylvania 

Southern Illinois University Libraries, Carbondale, 
Illinois 

Stephens Memorial Library, Southwestern Louisiana 
Institute, Lafayette, Louisiana 

Texas Technological College, Lubbock, Texas 



University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 
University of Utah Library, Salt Lake City, Utah 
Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, Indiana 
Western Carolina Teachers College, Cullowhee, North 

Carolina 
Wisconsin State College Library, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 



Akron Public Library, Akron, Ohio (A. Polsky and 
Company, Akron, Ohio) 

Alderman Library, University of Virginia, 
Charlottesville, Virginia (Paul Mellon) 

American University, Washington, D.C. 
Austin College, Sherman, Texas 
Barnard College, New York, New York 

Belhaven College, Jackson, Mississippi (Robert D. 
Sanders Foundation) 

Berea College, Berea, Kentucky (Henry R. Levy) 
Berkeley Public Library, Berkeley, California (Great 
Books Discussion Leaders, Berkeley, California^ 

Beverly Hills Public Library, Beverly Hills, California 
(Mrs. Arthur E. English) 

Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania (Mr. and 

Mrs. Henry A. Loeb) 

Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota (John Cowles) 
Carnegie Institute Library, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 

(Charles J. Rosenbloom) 

Case Institute of Technology, Cleveland, Ohio (Frederic 

M. Bosworth) 
Catholic University, Washington, D.C. 



Centre College, Danville Kentucky (Elbert Gary 
Sutcliffe) 

Chamberlain-Hunt Academy, Port Gibson, Mississippi 
(Robert D. Sanders Foundation) 

The Choate School, Wallingford, Connecticut (Paul 
Mellon) 

The Clayton Library, Clayton, Missouri (J. Lionbergei 
Davis) 

Cleveland College, Western Reserve University, 
Cleveland, Ohio (G. T. Howson and J. H. 
Michener) 

Cleveland Public Library, Cleveland, Ohio (Sterling- 
Lindner-Davis Company, Cleveland, Ohio) 

Coe College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 

College of Idaho, Caldwell, Idaho (C. C. Anderson 
Company, Boise, Idaho') 

College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington (The 
Bon Marche, Tacoma, Washington) 

The College of St. Joseph on the Rio Grande, 

Albuquerque, New Mexico (Clinton P. Anderson) 

Columbia College, Columbia University, New York, 
New York (Harold F. Linder) 

Dallas Public Library, Dallas, Texas (Mr. and Mrs. J. 
Leddy Jones) 

Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire 
(Harold F. Linder) 



Deering Library, Northwestern University, Evanston, 

Illinois 
DeGolyer Collection, University of Oklahoma Library, 

Norman, Oklahoma (E. DeGolyer) 
DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois (Britton L Budd) 
District of Columbia Public Libraries, Washington, D.C. 
Drury College, Springfield, Missouri (Heer's, Inc., 

Springfield, Missouri) 
Everett Public Library, Everett, Washington (The Bon 

Marche, Everett, Washington) 

Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee (George T. Keating) 
Foxcroft School, Middleburg, Virginia (Paul Mellon) 
Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Pennsylvania 

(Isaac D. Levy) 
George R Baker Trust, New York New York (George F. 

Baker, Jr.) 

Georgetown University, Washington, D.C 
George Washington University, Washington, D.C 

Gilmour Academy, Gates Mills, Ohio (Charles M. 

Grace) 
Goshen College, Goshen, Indiana (Mr. and Mrs. W. T. 

Stalter) 
Graduate School of Public Health Library, University 

of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (Thomas 

Parran, M.D.) 



Grand Rapids Public Library, Grand Rapids, Michigan 
(Herpolsheimer Company, Grand Rapids, 
Michigan) 

Great Falls Public Library, Great Falls, Montana 
(The Paris of Montana, Great Falls, Montana) 

Greensboro Public Library, Greensboro, North Carolina 
(The Meyer's Company, Greensboro, 
North Carolina) 

Greensburg Library Association, Greensburg, Pennsylvani 
(A. E. Troutman Company, Greensburg, 
Pennsylvania) 

The Hackley Public Library, Muskegon, Michigan 
(Hardy-Herpolsheimer Company, Muskegon, 
Michigan) 

Harpur College, Endicott, New York (Carleton A. 
Cleveland) 

Harvey Memorial Library, Moravian College, 

Bethlehem, Pennsylvania (Mr. and Mrs. Clayton W 
Bernhardt) 

The Hawthorne Library, Berryville, Virginia (Paul 
Mellon) 

Hazlehurst High School, Ha^ehurst, Mississippi 
(Robert D. Sanders Foundation) 

Highland Park Public Library, Highland Park, Illinois 
(Donald S. Trumbull) 



Howard University, Washington, DC (Harold F. 

Linder) 
Indiana County and Free Library, Indiana, 

Pennsylvania (A. E. Troutman Company 

Indiana, Pennsylvania*) 

Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, New Jersey 
(Harold R Linder) 

International House, Columbia University, New York, 
New York 

International House, University of California, Berkeley, 

California 
International House, University of Chicago, Chicago, 

Illinois 

Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa (Mr. and 
Mrs. George B. McKibbin) 

Jackson Public Library, Jackson, Michigan (The L H. 

Field Company, Jackson, Michigan) 
Jewish Community Center, Washington, D.C 
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, 

New York (Arthur L H. Rubin) 
Jewish Theological Seminary of America, New York, 

New York (Salomon Bros. & Hutzler) 
John Hay Library, Brown University, Providence, Rhode 

Island (Harold H. Swift) 

Knox College, Galesburg Illinois (H. J. Szold) 



Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania (Wm. Laubac 

& Sons, Easton, Pennsylvania) 
Lake Charles Public Library, Lake Charles, Louisiana 

(The Muller Company, Lake Charles, Louisiana) 
Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois 
Lawrence College, Appleton, Wisconsin (D. C Everest^ 
Lebanon Community Library, Lebanon, Pennsylvania 

(The Bon Ton, Lebanon, Pennsylvania) 
Liberal Arts Foundation, New York, New York (Arthi 

L H. Rubin) 
Library of International Relations, Chicago, Illinois 

(Eunice F. Hale) 
Lincoln Memorial University, Harrogate, Tennessee 

(Foreman M. Lebold) 
Lower Columbia Junior College, Longvieiv, Washington 

(The Bon Marche, Longview, Washington) 
Madeira School, Greenway, Fairfax County, Virginia 

Mary Armstrong Ayers Memorial, Oak Park, Illinois 
(Friends of the Oak Park Library, Oak Park, 
Illinois*) 

Mary ville College, Maryville, Tennessee (Glen A. Lloyd 

Michigan State College, East Lansing, Michigan 
(Michigan National Bank, Lansing, Michigan) 

Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi (Robert D. 
Sanders Foundation) 



Mississippi Southern College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi 

(Robert D. Sanders Foundation) 
Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia (Harry Scherman) 
Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, Massachusetts 

(Alfred K. Eddy) 
New Mexico Military Institute, Roswell, New Mexico 

(A. Norman Into) 
New Mexico School of Mines, Socorro, New Mexico 

(United States Potash Company, New York, 

New York) 
New Mexico Western College, Silver City, New Mexico 

(Kennecott Copper Corporation, Chino Mines 

Division, Hurley, New Mexico) 
The New York Public Library, New York, New York 

(Harold R Linder) 
Nicholas Murray Butler Library, Columbia University 

New York New York (Willard V. King) 
Northland College, Ashland, Wisconsin (D. C Everest) 
North Shore Congregation, Israel Library, Glencoe, 

Illinois (Mr. and Mrs. Louis H. Silver) 
Osterhout Free Public Library, Wilkes-Barre, 

Pennsylvania (Pomeroy's Inc., Wilkts-Barre, 

Pennsylvania*) 
Paterson Free Public Library, Paterson, New Jersey 

(Quackenbush Company, Paterson, New Jersey) 
Pennsylvania College for Women, Pittsburgh, 

Pennsylvania (Paul Mellon) 



Picrson College, Yale University, New Haven, 

Connecticut (Harold F. Linder) 
Piney Woods School, Piney Woods, Mississippi (Robert 

D. Sanders Foundation) 

Pottsville Free Public Library, Pottsville, Pennsylvania 
(Pomeroy's Inc, Pottsville, Pennsylvania) 

Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey (Alfred T. 
Carton) 

Rapid City Air Force Base, Rapid City, South Dakota 
(L S. Donaldson Company, Rapid City, South 
Dakota} 

Rockford College, Rockford, Illinois (Mrs. Tiffany Blake^ 
Roosevelt College, Chicago, Illinois (Robert Pollak) 

St. Benedict's College, Atchison, Kansas (True E. 
Snowden) 

St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland (Paul Mellon) 

St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Missouri (Friends of 
Charles H. Compton, St. Louis, Missouri) 

Salt Lake City School Board, Salt Lake City, Utah 
(Geneva Steel Company, Geneva, Utah) 

Saybrook College, Yale University, New Haven, 
Connecticut (Edison Dick) 

Southwest Missouri State College, Springfield, 
Missouri (Heer's, Inc., Springfield, Missouri") 

Southern Methodist University, University Park, Texas 
(The Titche-Goettinger Company, Dallas, Texas) 



(John W. Maloney, through Friends of the 
Library of the State College of Washington, 
Pullman, Washington) 

Sterling Library, Yale University, New Haven 
Connecticut (Mr. and Mrs. Louis H. Silver) 

Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pennsylvania (Harold 
F. Linder) 

Syracuse Public Library, Syracuse, New York (Dey Bros. 
& Company, Syracuse, New York*) 

Trinity College Library, Hartford, Connecticut (Paul 
Mellon) 

Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas (Joske's of 
Texas, San Antonio, Texas') 

United States Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland 
(Harold F. Linder) 

University of California, Berkeley, California 

University of California at Los Angeles, Los Angeles, 
California 

University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois (Mr. and Mrs. 
Renslow P. Sherer) 

University of Chicago Library, Chicago, Illinois 

University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio (The 
Rollman & Sons Company, Cincinnati, Ohio) 

University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa (Henry Carlton 
Shull) 



University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland 

University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico 
(Potash Company of America, Carlsbad, New 
Mexico) 

University of Tampa, Tampa, Florida (Maas Bros., 

Tampa, Florida) 
University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 

University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia (Paul 
Mellon) 

Valeria Home, Inc., Oscawana, New York (John 
Langeloth Loeb) 

Varnum Memorial Library, Jeftersonville, Vermont (Scott 
Buchanan) 

Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia (R. C 
Kramer) 

Virginia Polytechnical Institute, Blacksburg, Virginia 
(Paul Mellon) 

Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana (Pierre F. 
Goodrich) 

Warren Library Association, Warren, Pennsylvania 
(Metzger- Wright Company, Warren, 
Pennsylvania^ 

Weber College, Ogden, Utah (C C Anderson 
Company, Ogden, Utafc) 

Wharton County High School, Wharton, Texas (Mrs. 
Clive Runnells) 



Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington (The 
Bon Marche, Walla Walla, Washington) 

Whitworth College, Spokane, Washington (The Bon 
Marche, Spokane, Washington) 

Wilson College, Chambersburg, Pennsylvania (Mrs. 

Thomas A. Mellon) 
Winchester Foundation, Winchester, Indiana (Pierre 

F. Goodrich) 

Woodland High School, Woodland, California 
Yakima Valley Junior College, Yakima, Washington 

(Barnes- Woodin Company, Yakima, Washington") 

Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 
Young Men's and Young Women's Hebrew 

Association, New York, New York (John Langeloth 

Loeb) 

Other Institutions or Organizations 

Chicago Lying-in Hospital, Chicago, Illinois (Claire D. 

Swift) 
Commonwealth Edison Company Library, Chicago, 

Illinois (Charles Y. Freeman) 

Minneapolis Star & Tribune Library, Minneapolis 
Minnesota (John Cowles) 

The Washington Post Library, Washington, D.C. 



GUIDE TO THIS SET 

i . The list of authors 

See front end-papers in each volume 

i. The list of the great ideas 

See rear end-papers in each volume 

3 . Explanation of colors of bindings 

See Volume i, p. 86 

4. Biography of each author 

See the Biographical Note preceding each author s work 

5 . Explanation of history and structure of this set 

See Volume i, pp. xi-xxvii 

6. Statement of the purpose of this set 

See Volume i, pp. 1-81 

7. Possible approaches to the reading of this set 

See Volume i, pp. 85-89 

8. Complete list of works included in this set 

See Volume i, pp. 93-110 

9. Suggested ten-year reading plan 

See Volume i, pp. 111-131 

10. Explanation of purpose, structure and use of The Great 
Idea*) A Syntopicon of Great Books of the Western World 
(Volumes i and 3) 

See Volume i, pp. xxv-xxvi; and Volume i, pp. xi-xxxi 

1 1 . General contents of the Syntopicon 

See Volume i, p. vii; Volume 3, p. v 

n. History of the Syntopicon and the principles and methods 
of its construction 
See Volume 3, pp. 1119-1199 



GUIDE TO THIS SET 

13. Additional readings suggested under the head of each of 
the IOL great ideas 

See the end of each chapter of the Syntopicon 

14. Information about the 1,181 authors and 1,603 titks 
cited in the 101 reading lists 

See the Bibliography of Additional Readings (Volume 3, 
pp. 1143-1117) 

15. Alphabetical list of 1,791 ideas, concepts, and terms dealt 
with under the 1,987 topics of the Syntopicon 

See the Inventory of Terms (Volume 3, pp. 1303-1345) 

16. List of page locations of the Outlines of Topics for each 
of the 101 great ideas 

See Volume 3, p. 1346 



CONTENTS 



Preface : The History and Purpose of This Set xi 

The Great Conversation 

I. The Tradition of the West i 

II. Modern Times 7 

III. Education and Economics 17 

IV. The Disappearance of Liberal Education 14 
V. Experimental Science 32. 

VI. Education for All 41 

VII. The Education of Adults 51 

VIII. The Next Great Change 57 

IX. East and West 66 

X. A Letter to the Reader 74 



Possible Approaches to This Set 85 

I: The Contents of This Set 93 

II : Ten Years of Reading in This Set in 



IX 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

The Editors do not believe that any of the social and 
political changes that have taken place in the last fifty years, 
or any that now seem imminent, have invalidated or can in- 
validate the tradition or make it irrelevant for modern men. 
On the contrary, they are convinced that the West needs to 
recapture and re-emphasize and bring to bear upon its present 
problems the wisdom that lies in the works of its greatest 
thinkers and in the discussion that they have carried on. 

This set of books is offered in no antiquarian spirit. We 
have not seen our task as that of taking tourists on a visit to 
ancient ruins or to the quaint productions of primitive peo- 
ples. We have not thought of providing our readers with 
hours of relaxation or with an escape from the dreadful cares 
that are the lot of every man in the second half of the twen- 
tieth century after Christ. We are as concerned as anybody 
else at the headlong plunge into the abyss that Western civil- 
ization seems to be taking. We believe that the voices that 
may recall the West to sanity are those which have taken 
part in the Great Conversation. We want them to be heard 
again not because we want to go back to antiquity, or the 
Middle Ages, or the Renaissance, or the Eighteenth Century. 
We are quite aware that we do not live in any time but the 
present, and, distressing as the present is, we would not care 
to live in any other time if we could. We want the voices of 
the Great Conversation to be heard again because we think 
they may help us to learn to live better now. 

We believe that in the passage of time the neglect of these 
books in the twentieth century will be regarded as an aber- 
ration, and not, as it is sometimes called today, a sign of 
progress. We think that progress, and progress in education 
in particular, depends on the incorporation of the ideas and 
images included in this set in the daily lives of all of us, from 
childhood through old age. In this view the disappearance of 
great books from education and from the reading of adults 

xii 



PREFACE 

constitutes a calamity. In this view education in the West has 
been steadily deteriorating; the rising generation has been de- 
prived of its birthright; the mess of pottage it has received in 
exchange has not been nutritious; adults have come to lead 
lives comparatively rich in material comforts and very poor 
in moral, intellectual, and spiritual tone. 

We do not think that these books will solve all our prob- 
lems. We do not think that they are the only books worth 
reading. We think that these books shed some light on all our 
basic problems, and that it is folly to do without any light we 
can get. We think that these books show the origins of many 
of our most serious difficulties. We think that the spirit they 
represent and the habit of mind they teach are more necessary 
today than ever before. We think that the reader who does 
his best to understand these books will find himself led to 
read and helped to understand other books. We think that 
reading and understanding great books will give him a stand- 
ard by which to judge all other books. 

We believe that the reduction of the citizen to an object of 
propaganda, private and public, is one of the greatest dangers 
to democracy. A prevalent notion is that the great mass of 
the people cannot understand and cannot form an indepen- 
dent judgment upon any matter; they cannot be educated, in 
the sense of developing their intellectual powers, but they 
can be bamboozled. The reiteration of slogans, the distortion 
of the news, the great storm of propaganda that beats upon 
the citizen twenty-four hours a day all his life long mean 
either that democracy must fall a prey to the loudest and 
most persistent propagandists or that the people must save 
themselves by strengthening their minds so that they can ap- 
praise the issues for themselves. 

Great books alone will not do the trick; for the people 
must have the information on which to base a judgment as 
well as the ability to make one. In order to understand infla- 

xiii 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

tion, for example, and to have an intelligent opinion as to 
what can be done about it, the economic facts in a given 
country at a given time have to be available. Great books 
cannot help us there. But they can help us to that grasp of 
history, politics, morals, and economics and to that habit of 
mind which are needed to form a valid judgment on the issue. 
Great books may even help us to know what information we 
should demand. If we knew what information to demand we 
might have a better chance of getting it. 

Though we do not recommend great books as a panacea for 
our ills, we must admit that we have an exceedingly high 
opinion of them as an educational instrument. We think of 
them as the best educationaHrmniment for young people and 
adults today. By this we do not mean that this particular set 
is the last word that can be said on the subject. We may have 
made errors of selection. We hope that this collection may 
some day be revised in the light of the criticism it will re- 
ceive. But the idea that liberal education is the education 
that everybody ought to have, and that the best way to a 
liberal education in the West is through the greatest works 
the West has produced, is still, in our view, the best edu- 
cational idea there is. 

The elements of novelty in the present-day presentation of 
this idea are accounted for by the changes of the past fifty 
years. For reasons that will be later described, great books 
have disappeared, or almost disappeared, from American edu- 
cation. Since we take American education as the prototype of 
education in any highly developed industrial democracy, we 
predict their disappearance everywhere in the West. As I have 
said, we regard this disappearance as an aberration, and not 
as an indication of progress. We do not look upon this disap- 
pearance as a benefit to be thankful for, but as an error that 
should be corrected. The element of novelty that results from 

xiv 



PREFACE 

the disappearance of the books we take to be novelty only in 
the most superficial sense. We see this set as continuing a 
tradition that has been only momentarily interrupted. 

A second element of novelty in the presentation of these 
books at this time is found in the proposition that democracy 
requires liberal education for all. We believe that this propo- 
sition is true. We concede that it has not been ' 'scientifically" 
proved. We call upon our fellow citizens to test it. We think 
they will agree that, if this is the ideal, we should struggle to 
reach it and not content ourselves with inferior substitutes 
until we are satisfied that the goal cannot be attained. 

The third element of novelty in the effort to restore these 
books to education is found in the conception of adult edu- 
cation that we wish to advance. Until very recently the 
education of adults the world over was regarded as com- 
pensatory; opportunity for adult study was offered those 
whose economic, social, or political position had deprived 
them, in ways often regarded as unjust, of the amount of for- 
mal education usual among the "superior" classes. 

I am referring here, of course, only to general nonvoca- 
tional education. Many other kinds of educational activities 
for adults have traveled under other banners: labor unions 
have wanted to train their members in industrial bargaining; 
individuals have wanted to prepare themselves for better 
jobs. When a man had made up for the deficiencies of his for- 
mal schooling, his obligation, and usually his desire, to edu- 
cate himself naturally disappeared. He had reached the goal 
he had set for himself. I think it fair to say that in most coun- 
tries of the world today the notion that a man who had 
"had" in childhood and youth the best institutional educa- 
tion the country had to offer should go on educating himself 
all his life would be regarded as fantastic. 

Yet we believe that the obligation rests on all of us, unedu- 
cated, miseducated, and educated alike, to do just that. We do 

xv 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

not depreciate the possibiliites of these books as a means of 
educating young people. We think the sooner the young are 
introduced to the Great Conversation the better. They will 
not be able to understand it very well; but they should be in- 
troduced to it in the hope that they will continue to take 
part in it and eventually understand it. But we confess that 
we have had principally in mind the needs of the adult popu- 
lation, who, in America at least, have as a result of the 
changes of the last fifty years the leisure to become educated 
men and women. They now have the chance to understand 
themselves through understanding their tradition. Our prin- 
cipal aim in putting these books together was to offer them 
the means of doing so. 

The members of the Advisory Board, in addition to long 
experience as teachers of young people, had all devoted a 
large part of their lives to the education of adults. They had 
all sought to use great books for the purpose of educating 
adults. They determined to try to offer the means of liberal 
education in a coherent program. This set of books was the 
result. 

The Board asked itself whether an individual book con- 
tributed in an important way to the Great Conversation. The 
members drew upon their experience in teaching as a guide. 
They do not claim that all the great books of the West are 
here. They would not be embarrassed at the suggestion that 
they had omitted a book, or several books, greater than 
any they had included. They would be disturbed if they 
thought they had omitted books essential to a liberal edu- 
cation or had included any that had little bearing upon it. 

'The discussions of the Board revealed few differences of 
opinion about the overwhelming majority of the books in the 
list. The set is almost self-selected, in the sense that one book 
leads to another, amplifying, modifying, or contradicting it. 

xvi 



PREFACE 

There is not much doubt about which are the most important 
voices in the Great Conversation. Of marginal cases there are 
a few. Many readers will be disappointed to find one, at least, 
of their favorite works missing. Many readers will be sur- 
prised to find some author of whom they had a low opinion 
given a place of honor. The final decision on the list was 
made by me. I do not pretend that my prejudices played no 
part; I would like to claim that I sought, obtained, and 
usually accepted excellent advice. 

Readers who are startled to find the Bible omitted from the 
set will be reassured to learn that this was done only because 
Bibles are already widely distributed, and it was felt unneces- 
sary to bring another, by way of this set, into homes that 
had several already. References to the Bible are, however, 
included in both the King James and the Douai versions under 
the appropriate topics in the Syntopicon. 

The Editors felt that the chronological order was the most 
appropriate organizing principle for the volumes of this set. 
Since they conceived of this collection of books as repro- 
ducing a conversation among its authors, it was a natural 
decision to make the successive volumes of the set present, so 
far as possible, the authors in the temporal sequence in which 
they took part in that conversation. 

Examining the chronological structure of the set, the 
reader will also note that the Great Conversation covers 
more than twenty-five centuries. But he may wonder at its 
apparent termination with the end of the nineteenth century. 
With the exception of some of Freud's writings, all the other 
works here assembled were written or published before 1900; 
and some of Freud's important works were published :be- 
fore that date. - :,:.:, 

The Editors do not think that the Great Conversation 
came to an end before the twentieth century began. On the 
contrary, they know that the Great Conversation has been 



xvii 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

going on during the first half of this century, and they hope 
it will continue to go on during the rest of this century and 
the centuries to follow. They are confident that great books 
have been written since 1900 and that the twentieth century 
will contribute many new voices to the Great Conversation. 

The reason, then, for the omission of authors and works 
after 1900 is simply that the Editors did not feel that they or 
anyone else could accurately judge the merits of contempo- 
rary writings. During the editorial deliberations about the 
contents of the set, more difficult problems were encountered 
in the case of nineteenth-century authors and titles than with 
regard to those of any preceding century. The cause of these 
difficulties the proximity of these authors and works to our 
own day and our consequent lack of perspective with regard 
to them would make it far more difficult to make a selection 
of twentieth-century authors. If the reader is interested in 
knowing some of the possible candidates for inclusion from 
the twentieth century, he will find their names in the Bibli- 
ography of Additional Readings, which is appended to the 
Syntopicon (in Volume 3, pp. 1143-1117). The Additional 
Readings that come at the end of each of the Syntopicons loz 
chapters on the great ideas try to make an adequate repre- 
sentation of works written in this century; and in doing so, 
they name books that may prove themselves great, as other 
great books have done, by submission with the passage of 
time to the general judgment of mankind. 

The Editors did not seek to assemble a set of books repre- 
sentative of various periods or countries. Antiquity and the 
Middle Ages, the Renaissance and modern times, are included 
in proportion as the great writers of these epochs contributed 
to the deepening, extension, or enrichment of the tradition of 
the West. It is worth noting that, though the period from 
1500 to 1900 represents less than one-sixth of the total extent 
of the literary record of the Western tradition, the last four 

xviii 



PREFACE 

hundred years is represented in this set by more than one-half 
the volumes of Great Books of the Western World. 

The Editors did not, in short, allot a certain space to a 
certain epoch in terms of the amount of time in human his- 
tory that it consumed. Nor did we arbitrarily allot a certain 
space to a certain country. We tried to find the most impor- 
tant voices in the Conversation, without regard to the lan- 
guage they spoke. We did encounter some difficulties with 
language that we thought insurmountable. Where the ex- 
cellence of a book depended principally on the excellence of 
its language, and where no adequate translation could be 
found or made, we were constrained reluctantly to omit it. 

We thought it no part of our duty to emphasize national 
contributions, even those of our own country. I omitted 
Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, and Mark Twain, all very 
great writers, because I felt that, important as they were, 
they did not measure up to the other books in the set. They 
carried forward the Great Conversation, but not in such a 
way as to be indispensable to the comprehension of it. Ob- 
viously in a set made up of a limited number of volumes only 
the writers that seemed indispensable could be included. 

Some writers have made an important contribution to the 
Great Conversation, but in a way that makes it impossible to 
include it in a set like this. These are writers, of whom Leib- 
nitz, Voltaire, and Balzac are notable examples, whose con- 
tribution lies in the total volume of their work, rather than 
in a few great works, and whose total volume is too large 
to be included or whose single works do not come up to the 
standard of the other books in this set. 

What we wanted first of all, of course, was to make these 
books available. In many cases, all or some of an author's 
works included in this set were unavailable. They were either 
inaccessible or prohibitively expensive. This is true of works 
by Aristotle, Galen, Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius, Nicom- 

xix 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

achus, Ptolemy, Copernicus, Kepler, Plotinus, Aquinas, 
Gilbert, Harvey, Descartes, Pascal, Newton, Kant, Lavoisier, 
Fourier, Faraday, and Freud. 

We attach importance to making whole works, as distin- 
guished from excerpts, available; and in all but three cases, 
Aquinas, Kepler, and Fourier, the 443 works of the 74 auth- 
ors in this set are printed complete. One of the policies upon 
which the Advisory Board insisted most strongly was that 
the great writers should be allowed to speak for themselves. 
They should speak with their full voice and not be digested 
or mutilated by editorial decisions. Undoubtedly this policy 
makes reading more difficult; for the reader becomes to this 
extent his own editor. No one will deny that many arid 
stretches are contained in the works of the great writers. But 
we believed that it would be presumptuous for us to do 
the reader's skipping for him. When Hermann Hesse referred 
to the present as "the Age of the Digest," he did not intend 
to say anything complimentary. 

Since the set was conceived of as a great conversation, it is 
obvious that the books could not have been chosen with any 
dogma or even with any point of view in mind. In a conver- 
sation that has gone on for twenty-five centuries, all dogmas 
and points of view appear. Here are the great errors as well as 
the great truths. The reader has to determine which are the 
errors and which the truths. The task of interpretation and 
conclusion is his. This is the machinery and life of the West- 
ern tradition in the hands of free men. 

The title of this set is Great Books of the Western World. I 
shall have more to say later about great books of the Eastern 
world and merely wish to remark here that in omitting 
them from this collection we do not intend to depreciate 
them. The conversation presented in this set is peculiar to 
the West. We believe that everybody, Westerners and East- 
erners, should understand it, not because it is better than 



xx 



PREFACE 

anything the East can show, but because it is important to 
understand the West. We hope that editors who understand 
the tradition of the East will do for that part of the world 
what we have attempted for our own tradition in Great Books 
tf the Western World &nd the Syntopicon. With that task accom- 
plished for both the West and the East, it should be possible 
co put together the common elements in the traditions and 
:o present Great Books of the World. Few things could do 
is much to advance the unity of mankind. 

Some readers may feel that we have been too hard on them 
in insisting that the great works of science are a part of the 
:onversation and that a man who has not read them has not 
icquired a liberal education. Others, who concede the im- 
portance of science to understanding the world today, may 
aise the question of whether it is possible to understand 
nodern science and its contribution to the modern world 
rhrough the medium of books of the past. They may feel 
:hat, whereas philosophy, history, and literature can pro- 
luce works that are always fresh and new, natural science 
s progressive and is rapidly outdated. Why read Copernicus 
:>r Faraday if scientists now know everything that they 
blew, and much more besides? 

It is interesting to note that, some years after the books had 
:>een selected for this set, President James B. Conant of Har- 
vard, a distinguished chemist, proposed to make the kind of 
Dooks selected central in a reform of scientific education for 
:he layman. He said: "What I propose is the establishment of 
:>ne or more courses at the college level on the Tactics and 
Strategy of Science. The objective would be to give a greater 
iegree of understanding of science by the close study of a 
elatively few historical examples of the development of 
science. I suggest courses at the college level, for I do not be- 
iieve they could be understood earlier in a student's educa- 

xxi 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

tion; but there is no reason why they could not become im- 
portant parts of programs of adult education. Indeed such 
courses might well prove particularly suitable for older 
groups of men and women. . . . The greatest hindrance to the 
widespread use of case histories in teaching science is the lack 
of suitable case material. ... I am hopeful that if a sufficient 
number of teachers become interested in the approach sug- 
gested in the following pages a co-operative enterprise might 
be launched which would go far to overcome the difficulties 
now presented by the paucity of printed material available 
for student use. . . . Together they might plan for the trans- 
lation, editing, and publishing in suitable form of extracts 
from the history of science which would be of importance to 
the college teacher. It is no small undertaking, but one of the 
first importance. When it is remembered that two of the most 
significant works in the history of science, the De Revolutioni- 
bus of Copernicus and the De Fabrica of Vesalius, have never 
been published in English translation to say nothing of the 
vast amount of untranslated writings of Kepler, Galileo, 
Lavoisier, Galvani, and a host of others it is evident how 
much remains to be accomplished/' 

The De Revolutionibus of Copernicus and writings of Kep- 
ler, Galileo, and Lavoisier appear in this set. So also do the 
mathematical and scientific works of nineteen others Aris- 
totle, Hippocrates, Galen, Euclid, Archimedes, Apollonius, 
Nicomachus, Ptolemy, Gilbert, Harvey, Descartes, Pascal, 
Newton, Huygens, Fourier, Faraday, Darwin, James, and 
Freud. 

It is true that scientific works are often omitted from lists 
of important books on the assumption that such works lack 
the educational significance of the great poems, the great his- 
tories, and the great philosophies and are somehow not part 
of our "culture"; or that they cannot be read except by a few 
specialists; or that science, unlike poetry, has somehow "ad- 



xxii 



PREFACE 

vanccd" in modern times in such fashion as to rob the great 
steps in that advance of any but antiquarian value. 

But the Editors do not agree that the great poets of every 
time are to be walked with and talked with, but not those 
who brought deep insight into the mystery of number and 
magnitude or the natural phenomena they observed about 
them. 

We do not agree that better means of observation or more 
precise instruments of measurement invalidate the thinking 
of great scientists of the past, even where such means cause 
us to correct the hypotheses of these scientists. 

We lament the man who, properly desiring to wrestle at 
first hand with the problems that the great poets and philos- 
ophers have raised, yet contents himself with the "results" 
and ' 'findings' ' of modern science. 

We believe that it is a gratuitous assumption that anybody 
can read poetry but very few can read mathematics. In view 
of the countless engineers and technicians in our society we 
should expect many of our readers to find the mathematical 
and scientific masterpieces more understandable than many 
other works. As Stringfellow Barr has said, the world is 
rapidly dividing into technicians who cannot tell the differ- 
ence between a good poem and sentimental doggerel and "cul- 
tured" people who know nothing about electricity except 
that you push a button when you want it. In a society that 
is highly technological the sooner the citizens understand 
the basic ideas of mathematics and natural science the better. 

Poor books in science deal with specialties that serve the 
technician and pride themselves on juggling jargon. But the 
best books get their power from the refinement and precise 
use of the common language. As far as the medium of com- 
munication is concerned, they are products of the most elegant 
literary style, saying precisely what is meant. Like literary 
books, they have beginnings, middles, and ends that move 

xxiii 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

from familiar situations through complications to unravel- 
ings and recognitions. They sometimes end in the revelation 
of familiar mysteries. 

The atmosphere we breathe today, because of the univer- 
sal use of gadgets and machines, because the word "scientific" 
is employed in a magical sense, and because of the half-hidden 
technological fabric of our lives, is full of the images and 
myths of science. The minds of men are full of shadows 
and reflections of things that they cannot grasp. As Scott 
Buchanan has said, "Popular science has made every man 
his own quack; he needs some of the doctor's medicine." 

Much of this is the result of the mystery that modern man 
has made of mathematics. It is supposed that the scientist or 
engineer can understand great scientific works because he 
understands mathematics, which nobody but a scientist or 
engineer can understand. This is the reason why a fairly con- 
tinuous series of great books in mathematics is contained in 
this set. The Editors believe that mathematical truth will set 
us free from the superstitious awe that surrounds the scien- 
tific enterprise today. 

The reader will be able to decide for himself whether the 
mathematical and scientific works should have been excluded 
from this set on the score of their difficulty for the ordinary 
reader by comparing the difficulty, for such a reader, of Dante's 
Divine Comedy and that most difficult of all scientific works, 
Newton's Principia. There is a cult of scholarship surrounding 
Dante's masterpiece that is almost as formidable as the cult 
of mathematics. Most of this work is in philology, meta- 
physics, and history. The ordinary reader, who has heard of 
this apparatus but never used it, is surprised to find that he 
understands Dante without it. 

Both the cult of learning around Dante and the cult of 
ignorance around Newton are phenomena of the vicious spe- 
cialization of scholarship. Much of the background of Dante 

xxiv 



PREFACE 

is in Euclid and in Ptolemy's astronomy; the structure of 
both the poem and the world it describes is mathematical. 
Almost all of Newton by his express intention is Euclidean 
in its arithmetic as well as its geometry. Dante no more 
delivers his whole message without benefit of some mathe- 
matics than does Newton. Both are enhanced by the presence 
of the scientific voice in the conversation of which they are 
parts. 

The Advisory Board recommended that no scholarly appa- 
ratus should be included in the set. No "introductions" giv- 
ing the Editors' views of the authors should appear. The 
books should speak for themselves, and the reader should de- 
cide for himself. Great books contain their own aids to read- 
ing; that is one reason why they are great. Since we hold that 
these works are intelligible to the ordinary man, we see no 
reason to interpose ourselves or anybody else between the 
author and the reader. 

The Synto]>icon* ; , which began as an index and then turned 
into a means of helping the reader find paths through the 
books, has ended, in addition to making these contributions 
as a tool for reference, research, and study, as a preliminary 
summation of the issues around which the Great Conversa- 
tion has revolved, together with indications of the course of 
the debate at this moment. Once again, the Syntopicon argues 
no case and presents no point of view. It will not interpret any 
book to the reader; it will not tell him which author is right 
and which wrong on any question. It simply supplies him 
with suggestions as to how he may conveniently pursue the 
study of any important topic through the range of Western 
intellectual history. It shows him how to find what great 

*For a more elaborate description of the structure and uses of the Syntoptcon, sec the Possible 
Approaches to This Set in this volume (pp. 85-89) and the Preface to the Syntopicon (Vol. 
II, pp. xi-xxxi). 

XXV 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

men have had to say about the greatest issues and what is 
being said about these issues today. 

But I would do less than justice to Mr. Adler's achieve- 
ment if I left the matter there. The Syntopicon is, in addition 
to all this, and in addition to being a monument to the indus- 
try, devotion, and intelligence of Mr. Adler and his staff, a 
step forward in the thought of the West. It indicates where 
we are: where the agreements and disagreements lie; where 
the problems are; where the work has to be done. It thus 
helps to keep us from wasting our time through misunder- 
standing and points to the issues that must be attacked. 
When the history of the intellectual life of this century is 
written, the Syntopicon will be regarded as one of the land- 
marks in it. 

The Editors must record their gratitude to the Advisory 
Board and to their Editorial Consultants in the British 
Empire. 

The Advisory Board consisted of Stringfellow Barr, Pro- 
fessor of History in the University of Virginia, and formerly 
President of St. John's College in Annapolis, Maryland; 
Scott Buchanan, philosopher, and formerly Dean of St. 
John's College; John Erskine, novelist, and formerly Pro- 
fessor of English in Columbia University; Clarence Faust, 
President of the Fund for the Advancement of Education 
and formerly Dean of the Humanities and Sciences in Leland 
Stanford University; Alexander Meiklejohn, philosopher, 
and formerly Chairman of the School for Social Studies in 
San Francisco; Joseph Schwab, scientist, and Professor in the 
College of the University of Chicago; and Mark Van Doren, 
poet, and Professor of English in Columbia University. 

The Editorial Consultants were A. F. B. Clark, Professor 
of French Literature in the University of British Columbia, 
Canada; F. L. Lucas, Fellow and Lecturer of King's College, 

xxvi 



PREFACE 

Cambridge, England; and Walter Murdoch, Professor of 
English Literature in the University of Western Australia. 

The Editors would also express their gratitude to Rudolph 
Ruzicka, designer and typographer, who planned the format 
of this set of books and designed the typography of its indi- 
vidual works in the light of his reading of them. 

The Editors wish especially to mention their debt to the 
late John Erskine, whoever thirty years ago began the move- 
ment to reintroduce the study of great books into American 
education, and who labored long and arduously on the 
preparation of this set. Their other special obligation is to 
Senator William Benton, who as a member of a discussion 
group in Great Books proposed the publication of this col- 
lection, and who as Publisher and Chairman of the Board 
of Encyclopedia Britannica has followed and fostered it and 
finally brought it out. 

ROBERT M. HUTCHINS 
December i, 1951 



xxvii 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



CHAPTER I X 



The Tradition of the West 



T 

JLH 



.HE tradition of the West is 
embodied in the Great Conversation that began in the dawn of 
history and that continues to the present day. Whatever the 
merits of other civilizations in other respects, no civilization 
is like that of the West in this respect. No other civilization 
can claim that its defining characteristic is a dialogue of this 
sort. No dialogue in any other civilization can compare with 
that of the West in the number of great works of the mind 
that have contributed to this dialogue. The goal toward which 
Western society moves is the Civilization of the Dialogue. The 
spirit of Western civilization is the spirit of inquiry. Its domi- 
nant element is the Logos. Nothing is to remain undiscussed. 
Everybody is to speak his mind. No proposition is to be left 
unexamined. The exchange of ideas is held to be the path to 
the realization of the potentialities of the race. 
At a time when the West is most often represented by its 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

friends as the source of that technology for which the whole 
world yearns and by its enemies as the fountainhead of selfish- 
ness and greed, it is worth remarking that, though both ele- 
ments can be found in the Great Conversation, the Western 
ideal is not one or the other strand in the Conversation, but 
the Conversation itself. It would be an exaggeration to say 
that Western civilization means these books. The exaggera- 
tion would lie in the omission of the plastic arts and music, 
which have quite as important a part in Western civilization 
as the great productions included in this set. But to the extent 
to which books can present the idea of a civilization, the idea 
of Western civilization is here presented. 

These books are the means of understanding our society and 
ourselves. They contain the great ideas that dominate us 
without our knowing it. There is no comparable repository 
of our tradition. 

To put an end to the spirit of inquiry that has characterized 
the West it is not necessary to burn the books. All we have to 
do is to leave them unread for a few generations. On the other 
hand, the revival of interest in these books from time to time 
throughout history has provided the West with new drive 
and crcativeness. Great books have salvaged, preserved, and 
transmitted the tradition on many occasions similar to our 
own. 

The books contain not merely the tradition, but also the 
great exponents of the tradition. Their writings are models of 
the fine and liberal arts. They hold before us what Whitehead 
called "the habitual vision of greatness." These books have 
endured because men in every era have been lifted beyond 
themselves by the inspiration of their example. Sir Richard 
Livingstone said: "We are tied down, all our days and for 
the greater part of our days, to the commonplace. That is 
where contact with great thinkers, great literature helps. 
In their company we are still in the ordinary world, but 



THE TRADITION OF THE WEST 

it is the ordinary world transfigured and seen through the 
eyes of wisdom and genius. And some of their vision be- 
comes our own." 

Until very recently these books have been central in educa- 
tion in the West. They were the principal instrument of lib- 
eral education, the education that men acquired as an end in 
itself, for no other purpose than that it would help them to 
be men, to lead human lives, and better lives than they would 
otherwise be able to lead. 

The aim of liberal education is human excellence, both pri- 
vate and public (for man is a political animal). Its object is 
the excellence of man as man and man as citizen. It regards 
man as an end, not as a means; and it regards the ends of life, 
and not the means to it. For this reason it is the education of 
free men. Other types of education or training treat men as 
means to some other end, or are at best concerned with the 
means of life, with earning a living, and not with its ends. 

The substance of liberal education appears to consist in the 
recognition of basic problems, in knowledge of distinctions 
and interrelations in subject matter, and in the comprehen- 
sion of ideas. 

Liberal education seeks to clarify the basic problems and to 
understand the way in which one problem bears upon an- 
other. It strives for a grasp of the methods by which solutions 
can be reached and the formulation of standards for testing 
solutions proposed. The liberally educated man understands, 
for example, the relation between the problem of the immor- 
tality of the soul and the problem of the best form of govern- 
ment; he understands that the one problem cannot be solved 
by the same method as the other, and that the test that he 
will have to bring to bear upon solutions proposed differs 
from one problem to the other. 

The liberally educated man understands, by understanding 
the distinctions and interrelations of the basic fields of sub- 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

jcct matter, the differences and connections between poetry 
and history, science and philosophy, theoretical and practical 
science; he understands that the same methods cannot be ap- 
plied in all these fields; he knows the methods appropriate to 
each. 

The liberally educated man comprehends the ideas that are 
relevant to the basic problems and that operate in the basic 
fields of subject matter. He knows what is meant by soul, 
state, God, beauty, and by the other terms that are basic to 
the discussion of fundamental issues. He has some notion of 
the insights that these ideas, singly or in combination, pro- 
vide concerning human experience. 

The liberally educated man has a mind that can operate 
well in all fields. He may be a specialist in one field. But he 
can understand anything important that is said in any field 
and can see and use the light that it sheds upon his own. The 
liberally educated man is at home in the world of ideas and in 
the world of practical affairs, too, because he understands the 
relation of the two. He may not be at home in the world of 
practical affairs in the sense of liking the life he finds about 
him; but he will be at home in that world in the sense that he 
understands it. He may even derive from his liberal education 
some conception of the difference between a bad world and a 
good one and some notion of the ways in which one might be 
turned into the other. 

The method of liberal education is the liberal arts, and the 
result of liberal education is discipline in those arts. The lib- 
eral artist learns to read, write, speak, listen, understand, and 
think. He learns to reckon, measure, and manipulate matter, 
quantity, and motion in order to predict, produce, and ex- 
change. As we live in the tradition, whether we know it or 
not, so we are all liberal artists, whether we know it or not. 
We all practice the liberal arts, well or badly, all the time 
every day. As we should understand the tradition as well as 



THE TRADITION OF THE WEST 

we can in order to understand ourselves, so we should be as 
good liberal artists as we can in order to become as fully hu- 
man as we can. 

The liberal arts are not merely indispensable; they are un- 
avoidable. Nobody can decide for himself whether he is going 
to be a human being. The only question open to him is wheth- 
er he will be an ignorant, undeveloped one or one who has 
sought to reach the highest point he is capable of attaining. 
The question, in short, is whether he will be a poor liberal 
artist or a good one. 

The tradition of the West in education is the tradition of 
the liberal arts. Until very recently nobody took seriously the 
suggestion that there could be any other ideal. The educa- 
tional ideas of John Locke, for example, which were directed 
to the preparation of the pupil to fit conveniently into the so- 
cial and economic environment in which he found himself, 
made no impression on Locke's contemporaries. And so it will 
be found that other voices raised in criticism of liberal educa- 
tion fell upon deaf ears until about a half-century ago. 

This Western devotion to the liberal arts and liberal educa- 
tion must have been largely responsible for the emergence of 
democracy as an ideal. The democratic ideal is equal oppor- 
tunity for full human development, and, since the liberal arts 
are the basic means of such development, devotion to democ- 
racy naturally results from devotion to them. On the other 
hand, if acquisition of the liberal arts is an intrinsic part of 
human dignity, then the democratic ideal demands that we 
should strive to see to it that all have the opportunity to 
attain to the fullest measure of the liberal arts that is possible 
to each. 

The present crisis in the world has been precipitated by the 
vision of the range of practical and productive art offered by 
the West. All over the world men are on the move, expressing 
their determination to share in the technology in which the 

5 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

West has excelled. This movement is one of the most spec- 
tacular in history, and everybody is agreed upon one thing 
about it: we do not know how to deal with it. It would be 
tragic if in our preoccupation with the crisis we failed to hold 
up as a thing of value for the world, even as that which 
might show us a way in which to deal with the crisis, our 
vision of the best that the West has to offer. That vision is 
the range of the liberal arts and liberal education. Our deter- 
mination about the distribution of the fullest measure of 
these arts and this education will measure our loyalty to the 
best in our own past and our total service to the future of the 
world. 

The great books were written by the greatest liberal artists. 
They exhibit the range of the liberal arts. The authors were 
also the greatest teachers. They taught one another. They 
taught all previous generations, up to a few years ago. The 
question is whether they can teach us. To this question we 
now turn. 



CHAPTER II 



Modern Times 



u 



'NTIL recently great books 
were central in liberal education; but liberal education was 
limited to an elite. So great books were limited to an 61ite and 
to those few of the submerged classes who succeeded in break- 
ing into them in spite of the barriers that society threw up 
around them. Where anybody bothered to defend this exclu- 
sion, it was done on the basis that only those with exception- 
al intelligence and leisure could understand these books, and 
that only those who had political power needed to under- 
stand them. 

As the masses were admitted to political activity, it was 
assumed that, though they must be educated, they could not 
be educated in this way. They had to learn to read the news- 
paper and to write a business letter and to make change; but 
how could they be expected to study Plato or Dante or New- 
ton? All that they needed to know about great writers could 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

be translated for them in textbooks that did not suffer from 
the embarrassment of being either difficult or great. 

The people now have political power and leisure. If they 
have not always used them wisely, it may be because they 
have not had the kind of education that would enable them 
to do so. 

It is not argued that education through great books and the 
liberal arts was a poor education for the elite. It is argued 
that times have changed and that such an education would be 
a poor education for anybody today, since it is outmoded. It 
is remote from real life and today's problems. Many of the 
books were written when men held slaves. Many were writ- 
ten in a prescientific and preindustrial age. What can they 
have to say to us, free, democratic citizens of a scientific, in- 
dustrial era? 

This is a kind of sociological determinism. As economic de- 
terminism holds that all activity is guided and regulated by 
the conditions of production, so sociological determinism 
claims that intellectual activity, at least, is always relative 
to a particular society, so that, if the society changes in an 
important way, the activity becomes irrelevant. Ideas orig- 
inating in one state of society can have no bearing on another 
state of society. If they seem to have a bearing, this is only 
seeming. Ideas are the rationalizations of the social condi- 
tions that exist at any given time. If we seek to use in our 
own time the ideas of another, we shall deceive ourselves, be- 
cause by definition these ideas have no application to any 
other time than that which produced them. 

History and common sense explode sociological determin- 
ism, and economic determinism, too. There is something 
called man on this earth. He wrestles with his problems and 
tries to solve them. These problems change from epoch to 
epoch in certain respects; they remain the same in others. 
What is the good life? What is a good state? Is there a God? 

8 



MODERN TIMES 

What is the nature and destiny of man? Such questions and a 
host of others persist because man persists, and they will per- 
sist as long as he does. Through the ages great men have 
written down their discussion of these persistent questions. 
Are we to disdain the light they offer us on the ground that 
they lived in primitive, far-off times? As someone has re- 
marked, 'The Greeks could not broadcast the Aeschylean 
tragedy; but they could write it." 

This set of books explodes sociological determinism, be- 
cause it shows that no age speaks with a single voice. No so- 
ciety so determines intellectual activity that there can be nc 
major intellectual disagreements in it. The conservative anc 
the radical, the practical man and the theoretician, the ideal 
ist and the realist will be found in every society, many o 
them conducting the same kind of arguments that are carriec 
on today. Although man has progressed in many spectacular 
respects, I suppose it will not be denied that he is today worse 
off in many respects, some of them more important than the 
respects in which he has improved. We should not reject the 
help of the sages of former times. We need all the help we 
can get. 

The chief exponent of the view that times have changed 
and that our conception of the best education must change 
with them is that most misunderstood of all philosophers of 
education, John Dewey. It is one of the ironies of fate that his 
followers who have misunderstood him have carried all be- 
fore them in American education; whereas the plans he pro- 
posed have never been tried. The notion that is perhaps most 
popular in the United States, that the object of education is 
to adjust the young to their environment, and in particular to 
teach them to make a living, John Dewey roundly con- 
demned; yet it is usually advanced in his name. 

Dewey was first of all a social reformer. He could not advo- 
cate adjustment to an environment the brutality and injustice 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

of which repelled him. He believed in his own conception of 
liberal education for all and looked upon any kind of training 
directed to learning a trade, solely to make a living at it, as 
narrowing and illiberal. He would especially repudiate those 
who seek to differentiate among the young on the basis of 
their capacity in order to say that only some are capable of 
acquiring a liberal education, in Dewey's conception of it or 
any other. 

John Dewey's central position is stated in his major book 
on education, Democracy and Education, published in 1916. He 
says: "Both practically and philosophically, the key to the 
present educational situation lies in a gradual reconstruction 
of school materials and methods so as to utilize various forms 
of occupation typifying social callings, and to bring out their 
intellectual and moral content/' The occupations that are to 
be engaged in are those "which are indicated by the needs 
and interests of the pupil at the time. Only in this way can 
there be on the part of the educator and of the one educated 
a genuine discovery of personal aptitudes so that the proper 
choice of a specialized pursuit in later life may be indicated. 
Moreover, the discovery of capacity and aptitude will be a 
constant progress as long as growth continues. 

Dewey's chief reason for this recommendation is found in 
his psychology of learning. "An occupation is a continuous 
activity having a purpose. Education through occupations con- 
sequently combines within itself more of the factors condu- 
cive to learning than any other method. It calls instincts and 
habits into play; it is a foe to passive receptivity. It has an 
end in view; results are to be accomplished. Hence it appeals 
to thought; it demands that an idea of an end be steadily 
maintained, so that activity must be progressive, leading 
from one stage to another; observation and ingenuity are re- 
quired at each stage to overcome obstacles and to discover 
and readjust means of execution. In short, an occupation, 

ib 



MODERN TIMES 

pursued under conditions where the realization of the activity 
rather than merely the external product is the aim, fulfills the 
requirements which were laid down earlier in connection 
with the discussion of aims, interest, and thinking." 

The doctrine is that occupations, means of earning a living, 
should constitute the object of the attention of the education- 
al system. This is not for the purpose of teaching the pupils 
how to make a living. Dewey opposes pure vocational train- 
ing and urges that "a truly liberal, and liberating, education 
would refuse today to isolate vocational training on any of its 
levels from a continuous education in the social, moral and 
scientific contexts within which wisely administered callings 
and professions must function." He proposes education 
through occupations as a means of arousing interest, which 
it is assumed can be aroused by the study of occupations, 
of helping students to select a vocation, and of showing 
them the significance of the various ways of earning a living. 

This is not the place for an elaborate critique of this doc- 
trine. It is perhaps enough to say that the misinterpretations 
and misapplications of it were natural and inevitable. A pro- 
gram of social reform cannot be achieved through the educa- 
tional system unless it is one that the society is prepared to 
accept. The educational system is the society's attempt to 
perpetuate itself and its own ideals. If a society wishes to im- 
prove, it will use the educational system for that purpose. 
Even in this case it will not allow the educational system to 
determine for itself what improvement is, unless it is a soci- 
ety that believes that the free and independent exercise of in- 
dividual judgment is the best way to achieve improvement. 
If a society does not wish to change, it cannot be reformed 
through the educational system. In practice, a program of so- 
cial reform will turn out to be what Dewey 's has turned out 
to be in the hands of his followers, a program of social ad- 
justment. 

ii 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

So a program of education through occupations will in prac- 
tice turn out to be a program of education for occupations. 
Indeed, Dewey never tells us how it can be anything else. He 
does not say how he would accomplish the study of the mor- 
al, social, scientific, and intellectual contexts of occupations 
without resorting to those great books and those liberal arts 
which he regards as outmoded by experimental science and 
industrialization. 

Nor does he indicate any awareness of the practical difficul- 
ties of having occupations studied at school. The school can- 
not duplicate the actual conditions of industry, commerce, 
finance, and the learned professions. Machines, methods, 
teachers can never be up to date. The conditions in the educa- 
tional system generally can never be those that obtain in the 
modern medical school, in which the atmosphere of reality 
does not have to be created, because it is already there: the 
patient is really sick; the professor is trying to cure him; and 
the student learns to be a doctor by acting as the professor's 
assistant. 

Dewey is certainly correct in saying that the actual condi- 
tions of practice teach by arousing interest and defining the 
aim. But he fails to notice that this leads not to the study of 
occupations in the educational system, but to the study of oc- 
cupations through apprenticeship. This is the situation in the 
medical school. The apprentice is committed to the occupa- 
tion and learns it under the actual conditions of practice. In 
the educational system generally the actual conditions of 
practice cannot be successfully imitated; and the pupil is not 
committed to the occupation. 

Since the pupil is not committed to the occupation, the 
proposition that the occupations that arc to be studied arc 
those which are indicated by the needs and interests of the 
pupil at the time is alarming. Between the ages of six and 
fourteen I wanted, in rapid succession, to be an iceman (a now 

iz 



MODERN TIMES 

extinct occupation), a "motorman" on the horse cars (also 
extinct), a fireman, a postman, a policeman, a professional 
baseball player, and a missionary. The notion that what my 
teachers should have done was to offer me a study of these 
occupations as the fancy for each of them took me is so 
startling that Mr. Dewey's followers may perhaps be excused 
for refusing to take him literally and contenting themselves 
with trade-school instruction looking toward earning a 
living. 

The educational results of studies of occupations as the 
passing whims of children suggested them would hardly be 
what Mr. Dewey hoped, even if such a curriculum could in 
fact be instituted, as it never has been. One educational 
proposition I take to be axiomatic, that matters that demand 
experience of those who seek to understand them cannot be 
understood by those who are without experience. A child 
can and should learn about the economic and political 
system by way of introduction to it, but he cannot under- 
stand it, in the same way or to the same degree that he can 
understand arithmetic, music, and science. Nor can he un- 
derstand the moral and social contents of occupations in 
which he has never engaged under the actual conditions of 
practice. 

As the quotations I have given show, Mr. Dewey wants to 
concentrate on the study of occupations because he thinks 
that they will arouse real interest and lead to real learning. 
But the interest of the young in occupations is neither intense 
nor permanent, except in the case of an individual with a very 
special, overwhelming bent, until the time is almost at hand 
at which they have to make up their minds about the choice 
of their careers. Even then they can learn little about them 
until they have engaged in them, as the apprentice does, un- 
der the conditions under which they are carried on in the 
world. They cannot understand them; least of all can they 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

understand their social and economic and political contexts, 
until they have had some experience as wage earners and 
citizens. I say again that imitation experiences in the class- 
room are not a substitute for actual experiences in life. Such 
experiences can lead only to illusion : they lead the pupil to 
think he understands something when he does not. 

From the looks of things, all young Americans of a certain 
age now want to be cowboys. I doubt whether it would be 
useful for the schools to concentrate on cowpunching in its 
moral, social, political, scientific, and intellectual contexts. 
I do not see how the schools could do it, except by apprentic- 
ing the pupils to cowmen. I doubt whether, in the absence of 
such apprenticeship, much real learning would result. I doubt 
that, if it were possible to arouse real interest in cowmanship 
and its various contexts and to train up a generation of ac- 
complished cowboys through the educational system, it 
would be in the public interest to dedicate the educational 
system to this purpose. 

The reason is, apart from those I have already mentioned, 
that to regard the study of occupations as central in educa- 
tion assigns them a place to which they are not entitled. 
Work is for the sake of leisure. What will Mr. Dewey do 
about leisure? Will he ignore the end and concentrate on the 
means, so that, when the means have given us the end, we do 
not know what to do with ourselves? What about the duties 
of citizenship, which are more complicated and more im- 
portant than at any time in history? Will the study of occu- 
pations, in all their contexts, help us to achieve that in- 
tellectual independence which democratic citizenship re- 
quires? Is it not a fact that we arc now so wrapped up in our 
own occupations and the special interests of our own oc- 
cupational groups that we are almost at the pretyrannical 
stage described by Vico, the stage where everybody is so 
concerned with his own special interests that nobody looks 



MODERN TIMES 

after the common good? Is not the study of occupations the 
way to hasten the disintegration of such community as still 
remains, through emphasizing our individuality at the ex- 
pense of our common humanity? 

Democracy and Education was written before the assembly 
line had achieved its dominant position in the industrial 
world and before mechanization had depopulated the farms 
of America. The signs of these processes were already at 
hand; and Dewey saw the necessity of facing the social 
problems they would raise. One of these is the humanization 
of work. His book is a noble, generous effort to solve this and 
other social problems through the educational system. Un- 
fortunately, the methods he proposed would not solve these 
problems; they would merely destroy the educational system. 

The humanization of work is one of the most baffling issues 
of our time. We cannot hope to get rid of work altogether. 
We cannot say that we have dealt adequately with work when 
we have urged the prolongation of leisure. 

Whatever work there is should have as much meaning as 
possible. Wherever possible, workmen should be artists; their 
work should be the application of knowledge or science and 
known and enjoyed by them as such. They should, if possi- 
ble, know what they are doing, why what they are doing has 
the results it has, why they are doing it, and what constitutes 
the goodness of the things produced. They should understand 
what happens to what they produce, why it happens in that 
way, and how to improve what happens. They should under- 
stand their relations to others co-operating in a given process, 
the relation of that process to other processes, the pattern of 
them all as constituting the economy of the nation, and the 
bearing of the economy on the social, moral, and political 
life of the nation and the world. Work would be humanized 
if understanding of all these kinds were in it and around it. 

To have these kinds of understanding the man who works 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

must have a good mind. The purpose of education is to de- 
velop a good mind. Everybody should have equal access to 
the kind of education most likely to develop such a mind and 
should have it for as long as it takes to acquire enough intel- 
lectual excellence to fix once and for all the vision of the 
continuous need for more and more intellectual excellence. 

This is the educational path to the humanization of work. 
The man who acquires some intellectual excellence and in- 
tends to go on acquiring more will, to borrow a phrase from 
Dewey, "reconstruct and reorganize his experience/' We 
need have few fears that he will not be able to learn how to 
make a living. In addition to performing this indispensable 
task, he will inquire critically about the kind of life he leads 
while making a living. He will seek to understand the man- 
ner in which the life of all is affected by the way he and his 
fellow workers are making a living. He will develop all the 
meaning there is in his work and go on to see to it that it has 
more and better meaning. 

This set of books is offered not merely as an object upon 
which leisure may be expended, but also as a means to the 
humanization of work through understanding. 



CHAPTER III 



Education and Economics 




.PART from John Dewey 
and those few of his followers who understand him, most 
writers on education hold that, though education through 
great books and the liberal arts is still the best education for 
the few, it cannot be the best education for the many, because 
the many have not the capacity to acquire it. 

It would seem that this education is the best for everybody, 
if it is the best for the best, provided everybody can get it. 
The question, then, is : Can everybody get it? This is the most 
important question in education. Perhaps it is the most im- 
portant question in the world. 

Nobody knows the answer to this question. There has never 
been a time in history when everybody has had a chance to 
get a liberal education. We can, however, examine the alter- 
natives, and the consequences of each. 

If leisure and political power are a reason for liberal educaT 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

tion, then everybody in America now has this reason, and 
everybody where democracy and industrialization penetrate 
will ultimately have it. If leisure and political power require 
this education, everybody in America now requires it, and 
everybody where democracy and industrialization penetrate 
will ultimately require it. If the people are not capable of 
acquiring this education, they should be deprived of political 
power and probably of leisure. Their uneducated political 
power is dangerous, and their uneducated leisure is degrad- 
ing and will be dangerous. If the people are incapable of 
achieving the education that responsible democratic citizen- 
ship demands, then democracy is doomed, Aristotle rightly 
condemned the mass of mankind to natural slavery, and the 
sooner we set about reversing the trend toward democracy 
the better it will be for the world. 

On the other hand, the conclusion that everybody should 
have the chance to have that education which will fit him 
for responsible democratic citizenship and which will de- 
velop his human powers to the fullest degree does not require 
the immediate adoption in any given country of universal 
liberal education. This conclusion states the ideal toward 
which the society should strive. Any number of practical 
reasons may prevent the society from moving rapidly toward 
this ideal. But this does not mean that the statement of and 
devotion to the ideal are without value. On the contrary, the 
educational policy of a country will depend on the clarity 
and enthusiasm with which its educational ideal is stated and 
believed. 

The poverty of a country may seem to prevent it from 
rapid approximation of its educational ideal. In the past the 
education of the few rested on the labor of the many. It was 
assumed, perhaps rightly, that the few could not have educa- 
tion unless the many were deprived of it. Thomas Jefferson's 
proposal of three years of education for all could have been, 

18 



EDUCATION AND ECONOMICS 

nd probably was, opposed on the ground that the economy 
f Virginia could not survive it. Whatever may have been 
he case in that state 150 years ago, and whatever may be 
he case today in underdeveloped countries, it can no longer 
>e claimed that liberal education for all, from childhood to 
he grave, is beyond the economic powers of the United 
tates. 

The economic question can arise in another way. It can be 
uggested that liberal education is no good to a man who is 
tarving, that the first duty of man is to earn a living, and 
hat learning to earn a living and then earning it will absorb 
he time that might be devoted to liberal education in youth 
nd maturity. 

This argument is persuasive in countries where people are 
ctually starving and where the economic system is at so 
udimentary a stage that all a man's waking hours must be 
edicated to extracting a meager livelihood from the soil. 
Jndoubtedly the first task of the statesman in such countries 
5 to raise the standard of living to such a point that the 
eople may be freed from economic slavery and given the 
ime to get the education appropriate to free men. Millions 
>f men throughout the world are living in economic slavery, 
^hey are condemned to subhuman lives. We should do every- 
hing we can to strike the shackles from them. Even while 
vc are doing so, we must remember that economic inde- 
>endence is not an end in itself; it is only a means, though an 
bsolutely necessary one, to leading a human life. Even here, 
he clarity of the educational ideal that the society holds 
>efore itself, and the tenacity with which that ideal is 
tursued, are likely to be decisive of the fate of the society. 

I have no doubt that a hundred years ago we thought of 
ear, little, far-off, feudal Japan in the same way in which we 
hink of the underdeveloped countries today. With our as- 
istance Japan became a full-fledged, industrialized world 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

power in the space of forty years. We and the Japanese 
thought, in the i86o's, how wonderful it would be if this 
result could be achieved. We and they fixed our minds on the 
economic development of Japan and modified the educational 
system of that country on "American lines" to promote this 
economic development. So the rich got richer, the poor got 
poorer, the powerful got more bellicose; and Japan became 
a menace to the world and to itself. 

No one can question the desirability of technical training 
in underdeveloped countries. No one can be satisfied with 
technical training as an ideal. The ideal is liberal education, 
and technical training can be justified only because it may 
help to supply the economic base that will make universal 
liberal education possible. 

In developed countries technical training is also necessary, 
just as work is necessary in such countries. But the West has 
already achieved such a standard of living that it cannot use 
economic backwardness as an excuse for failing to face the 
task of making liberal education available to all. As far as 
the United States is concerned, the reorganization of the 
educational system would make it possible for the system to 
make its contribution to the liberal education of the young 
by the time they reached the age of eighteen. 

Think of the time that could be saved by the simple process 
of squeezing the waste, water, and frivolity out of American 
education. The American scheme of an eight-year elementary 
school, a four-year high school, and a four-year college, with 
graduate and professional work on top of that, is unique in 
the world, and we cannot congratulate ourselves on its unique- 
ness. No other country could afford the duplication that 
occurs in passing from one unit in the American system to 
another, or the inordinate length of time that is consumed by 
each unit. The tremendous waste of time in the American 
educational system must result in part from the fact that 

10 



EDUCATION AND ECONOMICS 

:here is so much time to waste. A six-year elementary school, 
i three- or four-year high school, and a three- or four-year 
:ollege would eliminate from two to four years of lost motion 
md leave plenty of time for liberal education. 

The degree of leisure now enjoyed by the whole American 
people is such as to open liberal education to all adults if they 
blew where to find it. The industrial worker now has twenty 
tiours of free time a week that his grandfather did not have. 
Neither in youth nor in his adult life does he need much 
training in order to learn how to make a living. The constant 
irive to simplify industrial operations will eventually mean 
and means in many industries today that only a few hours 
will be required to give the worker all the training he can use. 

If we assume that the object of concentration on vocational 
training in the schools is what John Dewey's mistaken fol- 
lowers think it is, to help young people to achieve economic 
independence, then we must admit that under present condi- 
tions in the United States the effort is disproportionate to the 
results. And the effort to do something that is not worth 
doing drives out of education the kind of activity that should 
:haracterize it. This effort diverts our attention from the 
enormously difficult task of discovering what education 
should be and then introducing it into the schools. 

Even before mechanization had gone as far as it has now, 
3ne factor prevented vocational training, or any other form 
3f ad hoc instruction, from accomplishing what was expected 
3f it, and that factor was the mobility of the American 
population. This was a mobility of every kind in space, in 
sccupation, and in economic position. Training given in one 
place for work in that place was thrown away because the 
persons trained were almost certain to live and work in 
mother place, or in several other places. Training given 
in one kind of work was equally useless because the persons 
trained usually did several other kinds of work rather than 

zi 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

the kind they were trained to do. The failure of ad hoc in- 
struction is so obvious that it has contributed to the notion 
that education, or schooling, is really irrelevant to any im- 
portant activities of life and is merely a period through which 
the young must pass because we do not know what else to do 
with them. Actually the failure of ad hoc instruction shows 
nothing but the failure of ad hoc instruction. It does not show 
that education is unimportant or that in a mobile, industrial 
society there is no education that can meet the needs of the 
people. 

If we are to take the assembly line as the characteristic 
feature of Western industry, we must regard industrialization 
as at best a mixed blessing. The monotony, impersonality, 
and uncreativeness of such work supply strong justification 
for the movement toward a steady reduction in the hours of 
labor. But what if the time that is gained for life off the 
assembly line is wasted, as much of it is today, in pursuits 
that can only be described as subhuman? What if the man as 
he works on the line has nothing in his head? 

As the business of earning a living has become easier and 
simpler, it has also become less interesting and significant; 
and all personal problems have become more perplexing. This 
fact, plus the fact of the disappearance of any education 
adequate to deal with it, has led to the development of all 
kinds of cults, through which the baffled worker seeks some 
meaning for his life, and to the extension on an unprecedented 
scale of the most trivial recreations, through which he may 
hope to forget that his human problems are unsolved. 

Adam Smith stated the case long ago: "A man without 
the proper use of the intellectual faculties of a man, is, if 
possible, more contemptible than even a coward, and seems 
to be mutilated and deformed in a still more essential part of 
the character of human nature/ 1 He points out that this is the 
condition of "the great body of the people," who, by the 

iz 



EDUCATION AND ECONOMICS 

livision of labor are confined in their employment "to a few 
fery simple operations" in which the worker "has no occa- 
;ion to exert his understanding, or to exercise his invention 
n finding out expedients for removing difficulties which 
lever occur." The result, according to Smith, is that "the 
:orpor of his mind renders him, not only incapable of relish- 
ng or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of 
:onceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and 
:onsequently of forming any just judgment concerning many 
*ven of the ordinary duties of private life." 

Yet the substitution of machines for slaves gives us an 
opportunity to build a civilization as glorious as that of the 
Greeks, and far more lasting because far more just. I do not 
:oncede that torpor of mind is the natural and normal condi- 
:ion of the mass of mankind, or that these people are neces- 
;arily incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational 
:onversation, or of conceiving generous, noble, and tender 
;entiments, or of forming just judgments concerning the 
iffairs of private and public life. If they are so, and if they 
ire so as a result of the division of labor, then industrializa- 
ion and democracy are fundamentally opposed; for people in 
.his condition are not qualified to govern themselves. I do not 
relieve that industrialization and democracy are inherently 
opposed. But they are in actual practice opposed unless the 
jap between them is bridged by liberal education for all. 
That mechanization which tends to reduce a man to a robot 
ilso supplies the economic base and the leisure that will en- 
ible him to get a liberal education and to become truly a man. 



CHAPTER IV 



The Disappearance of 
Liberal Education 



THE 



countries of the West 
are committed to universal, free, compulsory education. The 
United States first made this commitment and has extended 
it further than any other. In this country 91.5% of the chil- 
dren who are fourteen years old and 71.3% of those between 
fourteen and seventeen are in school. It will not be suggested 
that they are receiving the education that the democratic 
ideal requires. The West has not accepted the proposition 
that the democratic ideal demands liberal education for all. 
In the United States, at least, the prevailing opinion seems 
to be that the demands of that ideal are met by universal 
schooling, rather than by universal liberal education. What 
goes on in school is regarded as of relatively minor impor- 
tance. The object appears to be to keep the child off the labor 
market and to detain him in comparatively sanitary surround- 
ings until we are ready to have him go to work. 

M 



THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION 

The results of universal, free, compulsory education in 
America can be acceptable only on the theory that the object 
>f the schools is something other than education, that it is, 
or example, to keep the young from cluttering up homes and 
actories during a difficult period of their lives, or that it is 
o bring them together for social or recreational purposes. 

These last purposes, those which are social and recrea- 
ional, the American educational system, on a very low level, 
ichieves. It throws young people together. Since this does 
lot take any greater effort than is required to pass compulsory 
chool laws and build buildings, the accomplishment of this 
mrpose would not at first blush seem to be a matter for 
>oasting. Yet we often hear of it as something we should be 
>roud of, and even as something that should suggest to us 
he main line of a sound educational policy. We often hear 
hat bringing young people together, having them work and 
)lay together, and having them organize themselves "demo- 
xatically" are the great contributions to democracy that the 
:ducational system can make. This is an expansion of the 
loctrine that was popular in my youth about the moral bene- 
its conferred on everybody through intercollegiate athletics, 
vhich was, in turn, an adaptation of the remark dubiously 
mputed to the Duke of Wellington about the relationship 
)etween the battle of Waterloo and the playing fields of Eton. 

No one can deny the value of getting together, of learning 
:o get along with others, of coming to appreciate the methods 
)f organization and the duties of membership in an organiza- 
ion any more than one can deny the importance of physical 
icalth and sportsmanship. It seems on the face of it a trifle 
ibsurd, however, to go to the trouble of training and en- 
gaging teachers, of erecting laboratories and libraries, and 
)f laying out a program of instruction and learning if, in 
effect, the curriculum is extra and the extra-curriculum is the 
icart of the matter. 

2-5 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

It seems doubtful whether the purposes of the educational 
system can be found in the pursuit of objects that the Boy 
Scouts, the Y.M.C.A., and the local country club, to say 
nothing of the family and the church, purport to be pursuing. 
The unique function of the educational system would appear 
to have something to do with the mind. No other agency in 
the community sets itself up, or is set up, to train the mind. 
To the extent to which the educational system is diverted to 
other objects, to that extent the mind of the community is 
neglected. 

This is not to say that the educational system should not 
contribute to the physical, social, and moral development of 
those committed to its charge. But the method of its contri- 
bution, apart from the facilities for extra-curriculum activi- 
ties that it provides, is through the mind. The educational 
system seeks to establish the rational foundations for good 
physical, moral, and social behavior. These rational founda- 
tions are the result of liberal education. 

Education is supposed to have something to do with in- 
telligence. It was because of this connection that it was al- 
ways assumed that if the people were to have political power 
they would have to have education. They would have to 
have it if they were to use their power intelligently. This was 
the basis of the Western commitment to universal, free, 
compulsory education. I have suggested that the kind of 
education that will develop the requisite intelligence for 
democratic citizenship is liberal education, education through 
great books and the liberal arts, a kind of education that has 
all but disappeared from the schools, colleges, and universi- 
ties of the United States. 

Why did this education disappear? It was the education of 
the Founding Fathers. It held sway until fifty years ago. Now 
it is almost gone. I attribute this phenomenon to two factors, 
internal decay and external confusion. 

x6 



THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION 

By the end of the first quarter of this century great books 
and the liberal arts had been destroyed by their teachers. The 
books had become the private domain of scholars. The word 
"classics" came to be limited to those works which were 
written in Greek and Latin. Whitehead refers to Words- 
worth's remark about men of science who "murder to dis- 
sect" and properly observes: "In the past, classical scholars 
have been veritable assassins compared to them." The classi- 
cal books, it was thought, could be studied only in the origi- 
nal languages, and a student might attend courses in Plato 
and Lucretius for years without discovering that they had 
any ideas. His professors were unlikely to be interested in 
ideas. They were interested in philological details. The 
liberal arts in their hands degenerated into meaningless drill. 

Their reply to criticism and revolt was to demand, for- 
getting that interest is essential in education, that their 
courses be required. By the end of the first quarter of this 
century the great Greek and Latin writers were studied only 
to meet requirements for entrance to or graduation from 
college. Behind these tariff walls the professors who had 
many of the great writers and much of the liberal arts in 
their charge contentedly sat, oblivious of the fact that they 
were depriving the rising generation of an important part of 
their cultural heritage and the training needed to understand 
it, and oblivious also of the fact that they were depriving 
themselves of the reason for their existence. 

Philosophy, history, and literature, and the disciplines 
that broke away from philosophy political science, sociol- 
ogy, and psychology suffered from another kind of decay, 
which resulted from a confusion that I shall refer to later, a 
confusion about the nature and scope of the scientific method. 
This confusion widened the break between those disciplines 
that split off from philosophy; it led professors of these 
disciplines up many blind alleys; and it produced profound 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

changes in philosophical study. The same influences cut the 
heart out of the study of history and literature. 

In general the professors of the humanities and the social 
sciences and history, fascinated by the marvels of experi- 
mental natural science, were overpowered by the idea that 
similar marvels could be produced in their own fields by the 
use of the same methods. They also seemed convinced that 
any results obtained in these fields by any other methods were 
not worth achieving. This automatically ruled out writers 
previously thought great who had had the misfortune to live 
before the method of empirical natural science had reached 
its present predominance and who had never thought of 
applying it to problems and subject matters outside the range 
of empirical natural science. The insights of these writers 
were at once out of date; for they could, in the nature of the 
case, represent little but prejudice or guesswork, which it 
would be the object of the scientific method to sweep out of 
the way of progress. 

Since the aim of philosophers, historians, and critics of 
literature and art, to say nothing of social scientists, was to 
be as "scientific as possible, they could not concern them- 
selves much with ideas or with the "unscientific" tradition 
of the West. Nor could they admit the utility of the liberal 
arts, apart from those associated with mathematics. 

Meanwhile the idea of education for all became firmly 
established in the United States. The school-leaving age 
steadily rose. An unprecedented flood of pupils and students 
overwhelmed the schools, colleges, and universities, a flood 
that has gone on growing, with minor fluctuations, to this 
day. Merely to house and staff the educational enterprise was 
an undertaking that would have put a strain on the wealth 
and intelligence of any country. 

The triumphs of industrialization, which made this educa- 
tional expansion possible, resulted from triumphs of tech- 

Z8 



THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION 

nology, which rested on triumphs of science, which were 
promoted by specialization. Specialization, experimental 
science, technology, and industrialization were new. Great 
books and the liberal arts were identified in the public mind 
with dead languages, arid routines, and an archaic, pre- 
scientific past. The march of progress could be speeded by 
getting rid of them, the public thought, and using scientific 
method and specialization for the double purpose of pro- 
moting technological advance and curing the social malad- 
justments that industrialization brought with it. This pro- 
gram would have the incidental value of restoring interest to 
its place in education and of preparing the young to take 
part in the new, specialized, scientific, technological, in- 
dustrial, democratic society that was emerging, to join in 
raising the standard of living and in solving the dreadful 
problems that the effort to raise it was creating. 

The revolt against the classical dissectors and drillmasters 
was justified. So was the new interest in experimental science. 
The revolt against liberal education was not justified. Neither 
was the belief that the method of experimental science could 
replace the methods of history, philosophy, and the arts. As 
is common in educational discussion, the public had con- 
fused names and things. The dissectors and drillmasters had 
no more to do with liberal education than the ordinary col- 
lege of liberal arts has to do with those arts today. And the 
fact that a method obtains sensational results in one field is 
no guarantee that it will obtain any results whatever in 
another. 

Do science, technology, industrialization, and specializa- 
tion render the Great Conversation irrelevant? 

We have seen that industrialization makes liberal educa- 
tion more necessary than ever, and that the leisure it pro- 
vides makes liberal education possible, for the first time, for 
everybody. 

19 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

We have observed that the reorganization of the educa- 
tional system would enable everybody to get a liberal educa- 
tion and to become a specialist as well. 

I should like to add that specialization, instead of making 
the Great Conversation irrelevant, makes it more pertinent 
than ever. Specialization makes it harder to carry on any 
kind of conversation; but this calls for greater effort, not the 
abandonment of the attempt. 

There can be little argument about the proposition that the 
task of the future is the creation of a community. Community 
seems to depend on communication. This requirement is not 
met by improvements in transportation or in mail, tele- 
graph, telephone, or radio services. These technological ad- 
vances are frightening, rather than reassuring, and disrup- 
tive, rather than unifying, in such a world as we have today. 
They are the means of bringing an enemy's bombs or propa- 
ganda into our homes. 

The effectiveness of modern methods of communication in 
promoting a community depends on whether there is some- 
thing intelligible and human to communicate. This, in turn, 
depends on a common language, a common stock of ideas, 
and common human standards. These the Great Conversa- 
tion affords. Reading these books should make a man feel 
himself a member of the species and tradition that these 
books come from. He should recognize the ties that bind him 
to his fellow members of the species and tradition. He should 
be able to communicate, in a real sense, with other men. 

Must the specialist be excluded from the community? If 
so, there can hardly be one; for increasingly in the West 
everybody is a specialist. The task is to have a community 
nevertheless, and to discover means of using specialties to 
promote it. This can be done through the Great Conversa- 
tion. Through it the expert can discover the great common 
principles that underlie the specialties. Through it he can 

3 



THE DISAPPEARANCE OF LIBERAL EDUCATION 

bring ideas to bear upon his experience. In the light of the 
Great Conversation his special brand of knowledge loses its 
particularistic vices and becomes a means of penetrating the 
great books. The mathematical specialist, for example, can 
get further faster into the great mathematicians than a reader 
who is without his specialized training. With the help of 
great books, specialized knowledge can radiate out into a 
genuine interfiltration of common learning and common life. 
Imagine the younger generation studying great books and 
learning the liberal arts. Imagine an adult population con- 
tinuing to turn to the same sources of strength, inspiration, 
and communication. We could talk to one another then. We 
should be even better specialists than we are today because we 
could understand the history of our specialty and its relation 
to all the others. We would be better citizens and better men. 
We might turn out to be the nucleus of the world community. 



CHAPTER V 



Experimental Science 



T 

L JLHE Great Conversation 
began before the beginnings of experimental science. But the 
birth of the Conversation and the birth of science were 
simultaneous. The earliest of the pre-Socratics were investi- 
gating and seeking to understand natural phenomena; among 
them were men who used mathematical notions for this pur- 
pose. Even experimentation is not new; it has been going 
on for hundreds of years. But faith in the experiment as an 
exclusive method is a modern manifestation. The experi- 
mental method has won such clear and convincing victories 
that it is now regarded in some quarters not only as the sole 
method of building up scientific knowledge, but also as the 
sole method of obtaining knowledge of any kind. 

Thus we are often told that any question that is not 
answerable by the empirical methods of science is not really 
answerable at all, or at least not by significant and verifiable 



EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE 

statements. Exceptions may be made with regard to the kinds 
of questions mathematicians or logicians answer by their 
methods. But all other questions must be submitted to the 
methods of experimental research or empirical inquiry. 

If they are not answerable by these methods, they are the 
sort of questions that should never have been asked in the 
first place. At best they are questions we can answer only 
by guesswork or conjecture; at worst they are meaningless 
or, as the saying goes, nonsensical questions. Genuinely sig- 
nificant problems, in contrast, get their meaning in large 
part from the scientific operations of observation, experi- 
ment, and measurement by which they can be solved; and the 
solutions, when discovered by these methods, are better than 
guesswork or opinion. They are supported by fact. They have 
been tested and are subject to further verification. 

We are told furthermore that the best answers we can ob- 
tain by the scientific method are never more than probable. 
We must free ourselves, therefore, from the illusion that, out- 
side of mathematics and logic, we can attain necessary and 
certain truth. Statements that are not mathematical or logical 
formulae may look as if they were necessarily or certainly 
true, but they only look like that. They cannot really be 
either necessary or certain. In addition, if they have not been 
subjected to empirical verification, they are, far from being 
necessarily true, not even established as probable. Such state- 
ments can be accepted provisionally, as working assumptions 
or hypotheses, if they are acceptable at all. Perhaps it is 
better, unless circumstances compel us to take another course, 
not to accept such statements at all. 

Consider, for example, statements about God's existence 
or the immortality of the soul. These are answers to questions 
that cannot be answered one way or the other by the ex- 
perimental method. If that is the only method by which 
probable and verifiable knowledge is attainable, we are de- 

33 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

barred from having knowledge about God's existence or the 
immortality of the soul. If modern man, accepting the view 
that he can claim to know only what can be demonstrated by 
experiment or verified by empirical research, still wishes to 
believe in these things, he must acknowledge that he does so 
by religious faith or by the exercise of his will to believe; and 
he must be prepared to be regarded in certain quarters as 
hopelessly superstitious. 

It is sometimes admitted that many propositions that are 
affirmed by intelligent people, such as that democracy is the 
best form of government or that world peace depends upon 
world government, cannot be tested by the method of ex- 
perimental science. But it is suggested that this is simply be- 
cause the method is still not fully developed. When our use of 
the method matures, we shall find out how to employ it 
in answering every genuine question. 

Since many propositions in the Great Conversation have 
not been arrived at by experiment or have not been submitted 
to empirical verification, we often hear that the Conversa- 
tion, though perhaps interesting to the antiquarian as setting 
forth the bizarre superstitions entertained by "thinkers" be- 
fore the dawn of experimental science, can have no relevance 
for us now, when experimental science and its methods have 
at last revealed these superstitions for what they are. We are 
urged to abandon the reactionary notion that the earlier 
voices in the Conversation are even now saying something 
worth listening to, and supplicated to place our trust in the 
experimental method as the only source of valid or verifiable 
answers to questions of every sort. 

One voice in the Great Conversation itself announces this 
modern point of view. In the closing paragraph of his En- 
quiry Concerning Human Understanding, David Hume writes: 
"When we run over libraries, persuaded of these principles, 
what havoc must we make? If we take in our hand any volume 

34 



EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE 

... let us ask, Does it contain any abstract reasoning concerning 
quantity or number? No. Does it contain any experimental reasoning 
concerning matter of fact and existence? No. Commit it then to the 
flames: for it can contain nothing but sophistry and illusion/' 

The books that Hume and his followers, the positivists of 
our own day, would commit to burning or, what is the same, 
to dismissal from serious consideration, do not reflect igno- 
rance or neglect of Hume's principles. Those books, written 
after as well as before Hume, argue the case against the kind 
of positivism that asserts that everything except mathematics 
and experimental science is sophistry and illusion. They state 
and defend propositions quite opposite to those of Hume. 

The Great Conversation, in short, contains both sides of 
the issue that in modern times is thought to have a most 
critical bearing on the significance of the Great Conversation 
itself. Only an unashamed dogmatist would dare to assert 
that the issue has been finally resolved now in favor of the 
view that, outside of logic or mathematics, the method of 
modern science is the only method to employ in seeking 
knowledge. The dogmatist who made this assertion would 
have to be more than unashamed. He would have to blind 
himself to the fact that his own assertion was not established 
by the experimental method, nor made as an indisputable 
conclusion of mathematical reasoning or of purely logical 
analysis. 

With regard to this issue about the scientific method, 
which has become central in our own day, the contrary claim 
is not made for the Great Conversation. It would be equally 
dogmatic to assert that the issue has been resolved in favor 
of the opposite point of view. What can be justly claimed, 
however, is that the great books ably present both sides of 
the issue and throw light on aspects of it that are darkly as 
well as dogmatically treated in contemporary discussion. 

They raise the question for us of what is meant by science 

35 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

and the scientific method. If all that is meant is that a scien- 
tist is honest and careful and precise, and that he weighs all 
the evidence with discrimination before he pronounces judg- 
ment, then we can agree that the scientific method is the only 
method of reaching and testing the truth in any field. But 
this conception of the scientific method is so broad as to in- 
clude the methods used by competent historians, philoso- 
phers, and theologians since the beginning of time; and it is 
not helpful, indeed it is seriously misleading, to name a 
method used in all fields after one of them. 

Sometimes the scientific method seems to mean that we 
must pay attention to the facts, which carries with it the 
suggestion that those who do not believe that the method of 
experimental science is appropriate to every other field of 
inquiry do not pay attention to the facts and are therefore 
remote from reality. The great books show, on the contrary, 
that even those thinkers of the past who are now often looked 
upon as the most reactionary, the medieval theologians, in- 
sisted, as Aristotle had before them, that the truth of any 
statement is its conformity to reality or fact, and that sense- 
experience is required to discover the particular matters of 
fact that test the truth of general statements about the nature 
of things. 

"In the knowledge of nature," Aristotle writes, the test of 
principles "is the unimpeachable evidence of the senses as to 
each fact." He holds that "lack of experience diminishes our 
power of taking a comprehensive view of the admitted facts. 
Hence those who dwell in intimate association with nature 
and its phenomena grow more and more able to formulate, 
as the foundation of their theories, principles such as to ad- 
mit of a wide and coherent development; while those whom 
devotion to abstract discussions has rendered unobservant of 
the facts are too ready to dogmatize on the basis of a few 
observations." Theories should be credited, Aristotle insists, 



EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE 

"only if what they affirm agrees with the observed facts." 
Centuries later, an experimental physiologist such as William 
Harvey says neither more nor less when he declares that "to 
test whether anything has been well or ill advanced, to as- 
certain whether some falsehood does not lurk under a propo- 
sition, it is imperative on us to bring it to the proof of sense, 
and to admit or reject it on the decision of sense." 

To proclaim the necessity of observing the facts, and all the 
facts, is not to say, however, that merely collecting facts will 
solve a problem of any kind. The facts are indispensable; they 
are not sufficient. To solve a problem it is necessary to think. 
It is necessary to think even to decide what facts to collect. 
Even the experimental scientist cannot avoid being a liberal 
artist, and the best of them, as the great books show, are men 
of imagination and of theory as well as patient observers of 
particular facts. Those who have condemned thinkers who 
have insisted on the importance of ideas have often over- 
looked the equal insistence of these writers on obtaining the 
facts. These critics have themselves frequently misunderstood 
the scientific method and have confused it with the aimless 
accumulation of data. 

When the various meanings of science and the scientific 
method are distinguished and clarified, the issue remains 
whether the method associated with experimental science, 
as that has developed in modern times, is the only method of 
seeking the truth about what really exists or about what men 
and societies should do. As already pointed out, both sides 
of this issue are taken and argued in the Great Conversation. 
But the great books do more than that. They afford us the 
best examples of man's efforts to seek the truth, both about 
the nature of things and about human conduct, by methods 
other than those of experimental science; and because these 
examples are presented in the context of equally striking 
examples of man's efforts to learn by experiment or the 

37 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

method of empirical science, the great books provide us with 
the best materials for judging whether the experimental 
method is or is not the only acceptable method of inquiry 
into all things. 

That judgment the reader of the great books must finally 
make for himself. When he makes it in the light of the best 
examples of the employment of different methods to solve 
the problems of different subject matters, he will not have 
begged the question, as do those who, before reading the 
great books, judge them in terms of the dogma that there is 
only one method and that, though there are obvious dif- 
ferences among subject matters, no knowledge about any 
subject matter can be achieved unless this one method is ap- 
plied. 

On one point there seems to be no question. The con- 
temporary practices of scientific research, as well as the 
scientific efforts that the great books record, show beyond 
doubt that the method of the controlled experiment under 
artificial conditions is not the only method used by men who 
regard themselves and are regarded as scientists. It may 
represent the most perfect form of empirical inquiry. It may 
be the model on which all the less exact forms of scientific 
investigation are patterned. But as the work of astronomers, 
biologists, and social scientists reveals, experiment in the 
strict sense is not always possible. 

The method of the controlled experiment under artificial 
conditions is exclusively the method of that part of science 
the subject matter of which permits it to be experimental. 
On the assumption that nonliving matter always behaves in 
the same way under the same conditions, we are justified 
in concluding from experiment that we have discovered how 
certain nonliving matter behaves under certain conditions. 
On the assumption that living matter, when very large 
numbers of units are taken into account, is likely to exhibit 

38 



EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE 

uniformities of behavior under identical conditions, we are 
justified in concluding that if we know the conditions are 
identical, which is possible only in the laboratory, and if we 
know that the number of units under examination is large 
enough, then probably such uniformities of behavior as we 
detect will recur under identical conditions. 

The griefs and losses sustained by those social scientists 
who predict the outcome of horse races and presidential 
elections are sufficient to indicate the difficulties of their 
subject. No one would propose that the social scientists 
should not keep on trying. The more refined and complete 
our knowledge of society, the better off we shall be. But it 
would be helpful to the social scientists if they recognized 
that in understanding human beings, who often cannot be 
subjected to experiment in the laboratory like guinea pigs 
and atoms, the method of experimental science cannot, in 
the nature of things, produce results that can compare with 
those which science achieves in dealing with matters more 
susceptible to experimentation. 

One eminent social scientist, Professor Robert Redfield, has 
suggested that his colleagues consider their relation to the 
humanities as well as to the natural sciences. "The imitation 
of the physical and biological sciences," he says, "has pro- 
ceeded to a point where the fullest development of social 
science is hampered/' Identification with the natural sciences 
shelters the social scientist "from a stimulation from philoso- 
phy and the arts and literature which social science needs . . . 
The stimulation which the social scientists can gain from the 
humanities can come from the arts and literature themselves, 
and through an understanding of some of the problems which 
interest philosophers and the more imaginative students of 
the creative productions of mankind. " 

According to Professor Redfield, the bond that links the 
social scientist and the humanist is their common subject 

39 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

matter. "Humanity," he says, "is the common subject-mat- 
ter of those who look at men as they are represented in 
books or works of art, and of those who look at men as they 
appear in institutions and in directly visible action. It is the 
central and essential matter of interest to social scientist and 
humanist alike/' Though they differ in their methods, they 
"share a common effort, a common interest"; and Redfield 
adds, "it may be doubted if the results so far achieved by the 
social scientists are more communicative of the truth about 
human nature than are the results achieved by the more 
personal and imaginative methods of the artist." 

We should remember such sound advice when we are urged 
to abandon methods that have yielded important insights in 
favor of one that will doubtless be helpful, but may not be 
able to tell us everything we need to know. It may be unwise 
to reject the sources of wisdom that have been traditionally 
found in history, philosophy, and the arts. These disciplines 
do not give us mathematical knowledge or knowledge ac- 
quired in the laboratory, but to say that for these reasons 
what they give us is not knowledge in any sense is to dis- 
regard the facts and to put the world of knowable things in a 
dogmatic strait jacket. 

The rise of experimental science has not made the Great 
Conversation irrelevant. Experimental science is a part of the 
Conversation. As Etienne Gilson has remarked, "our science 
is a part of our humanism" as "the science of Pericles' time 
was a part of Greek humanism." Science is itself part of the 
Great Conversation. In the Conversation we find science 
raising issues about knowledge and reality. In the light of the 
Conversation we can reach a judgment about the question in 
dispute: How many valid methods of inquiry are there? 

Because of experimental science we now know a very large 
number of things about the natural world of which our pred- 
ecessors were ignorant. In this set of books we can observe 

40 



EXPERIMENTAL SCIENCE 

the birth of science, applaud the development of the experi- 
mental technique, and celebrate the triumphs it has won. 
But we can also note the limitations of the method and mourn 
the errors that its misapplication has caused. We can distin- 
guish the outlines of those great persistent problems that 
the method of experimental natural science may never solve 
and find the clues to their solutions offered by other disci- 
plines and other methods. 



CHAPTER VI 



Education for All 



WE 



'E have seen that educa- 
tion through the liberal arts and great books is the best 
education for the best. We have seen that the democratic 
ideal requires the attempt to help everybody get this educa- 
tion. We have seen that none of the great changes, the rise of 
experimental science, specialization, and industrialization, 
makes this attempt irrelevant. On the contrary, these changes 
make the effort to give everybody this education more nec- 
essary and urgent. 

We must now return to the most important question, 
which is : Can everybody get this education? When an educa- 
tional ideal is proposed, we are entitled to ask in what 
measure it can be achieved. If it cannot be achieved at all, 
those who propose it may properly be accused of irresponsi- 
bility or disingenuousness. 

Such accusations have in fact been leveled against those 



EDUCATION FOR ALL 

who propose the ideal of liberal education for all. Many 
sincere democrats believe that those who propose this ideal 
must be antidemocratic. Some of these critics are carried 
away by an educational version of the doctrine of guilt by 
association. They say, 'The ideal that you propose was put 
forward by and for aristocrats. Aristocrats are not demo- 
crats. Therefore neither you nor your ideal is democratic/' 

The answer to this criticism has already been given. Liberal 
education was aristocratic in the sense that it was the educa- 
tion of those who enjoyed leisure and political power. If it 
was the right education for those who had leisure and politi- 
cal power, then it is the right education for everybody today. 

That all should be well acquainted with and each in his 
measure actively and continuously engaged in the Great 
Conversation that man has had about what is and should be 
does not seem on the face of it an antidemocratic desire. It is 
only antidemocratic if, in the name of democracy, it is 
erecting an ideal for all that all cannot in fact achieve. But if 
this educational ideal is actually implicit in the democratic 
ideal, as it seems to be, then it should not be refused because 
of its association with a past in which the democratic ideal 
was not accepted. 

Many convinced believers in liberal education attack the 
ideal of liberal education for all on the ground that if we 
attempt to give liberal education to everybody we shall fail 
to give it to anybody. They point to the example of the 
United States, where liberal education has virtually dis- 
appeared, and say that this catastrophe is the inevitable 
result of taking the dogma of equality of educational op- 
portunity seriously. 

The two criticisms I have mentioned come to the same 
thing: that liberal education is too good for the people. The 
first group of critics and the second unite in saying that only 
the few can acquire an education that was the best for the 

43 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

best. The difference between the two is in the estimate they 
place on the importance of the loss of liberal education. 

The first group says that, since everybody cannot acquire a 
liberal education, democracy cannot require that anybody 
should have it. The second group says that, since everybody 
cannot acquire a liberal education, the attempt to give it to 
everybody will necessarily result in an inferior education for 
everybody. The remedy is to segregate the few who are 
capable from the many who are incapable and see to it that 
the few, at least, receive a liberal education. The rest can be 
relegated to vocational training or any kind of activity in 
school that happens to interest them. 

The more logical and determined members of this second 
group of critics will confess that they believe that the great 
mass of mankind is and of right ought to be condemned to a 
modern version of natural slavery. Hence there is no use 
wasting educational effort upon them. They should be given 
such training as will be necessary to enable them to survive. 
Since all attempts to do more will be frustrated by the facts of 
life, such attempts should not be made. 

Because the great bulk of mankind have never had the 
chance to get a liberal education, it cannot be "proved" that 
they can get it. Neither can it be "proved" that they cannot. 
The statement of the ideal, however, is of value in indicating 
the direction that education should take. For example, if it is 
admitted that the few can profit by liberal education, then 
we ought to make sure that they, at least, have the chance to 
get it. 

It is almost impossible for them to do so in the United 
States today. Many claims can be made for the American 
people; but nobody would think of claiming that they can 
read, write, and figure. Still less would it be maintained that 
they understand the tradition of the West, the tradition in 
which they live. The products of American high schools are 

44 



EDUCATION FOR ALL 

illiterate; and a degree from a famous college or university is 
no guarantee that the graduate is in any better case. One of 
the most remarkable features of American society is that the 
difference between the "uneducated" and the "educated" is 
so slight. 

The reason for this phenomenon is, of course, that so little 
education takes place in American educational institutions. 
But we still have to wrestle with the question of why this 
should be so. Is there so little education in the American 
educational system because that system is democratic? Are 
democracy and education incompatible? Do we have to say 
that, if everybody is to go to school, the necessary conse- 
quence is that nobody will be educated? 

Since we do not know that everybody cannot get a liberal 
education, it would seem that, if this is the ideal education, 
we ought to try to help everybody get it. Those especially 
who believe in "getting the facts" and "the experimental 
method" should be the first to insist that until we have 
tried we cannot be certain that we shall fail. 

The business of saying, in advance of a serious effort, that 
the people are not capable of achieving a good education is 
too strongly reminiscent of the opposition to every extension 
of democracy. This opposition has always rested on the alle- 
gation that the people were incapable of exercising intelli- 
gently the power they demanded. Always the historic state- 
ment has been verified : you cannot expect the slave to show 
the virtues of the free man unless you first set him free. When 
the slave has been set free, he has, in the passage of time, be- 
come indistinguishable from those who have always been free. 

There appears to be an innate human tendency to under- 
rate the capacity of those who do not belong to "our" group. 
Those who do not share our background cannot have our 
ability. Foreigners, people who are in a different economic 
status, and the young seem invariably to be regarded as in- 

45 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

tellectually backward, and constitutionally so, by natives, 
people in M our" economic status, and adults. 

In education, for example, whenever a proposal is made 
that looks toward increased intellectual effort on the part of 
students, professors will always say that the students can- 
not do the work. My observation leads me to think that what 
this usually means is that the professors cannot or will not 
do the work that the suggested change requires. When, in 
spite of the opposition of the professors, the change has been 
introduced, the students, in my experience, have always 
responded nobly. 

We cannot argue that, because those Irish peasant boys 
who became priests in the Middle Ages or those sons of 
American planters and businessmen who became the Found- 
ing Fathers of our country were expected as a matter of 
course to acquire their education through the liberal arts and 
great books, every person can be expected as a matter of 
course to acquire such an education today. We do not know 
the intelligent quotients of the medieval priests or of the 
Founding Fathers; they were probably high. 

But such evidence as we have in our own time, derived from 
the experience of two or three colleges that have made the 
Great Conversation the basis of their course of study and from 
the experience of that large number of groups of adults who 
for the past eight years have been discussing great books in 
every part of the United States, suggests that the difficulties 
of extending this educational program to everybody may 
have been exaggerated. 

Great books are great teachers; they are showing us every 
day what ordinary people are capable of. These books came 
out of ignorant, inquiring humanity. They are usually the 
first announcements of success in learning. Most of them 
were written for, and addressed to, ordinary people. 

If many great books seem unreadable and unintelligible to 



EDUCATION FOR ALL 

the most learned as well as to the dullest, it may be because 
we have not for a long time learned to read by reading them. 
Great books teach people not only how to read them, but 
also how to read all other books. 

This is not to say that any great book is altogether free 
from difficulty. As Aristotle remarked, learning is accom- 
panied by pain. There is a sense in which every great book 
is always over the head of the reader; he can never fully 
comprehend it. That is why the books in this set are infinitely 
rereadable. That is why these books are great teachers; they 
demand the attention of the reader and keep his intelligence 
on the stretch. 

As Whitehead has said, "Whenever a book is written of 
real educational worth, you may be quite certain that some 
reviewer will say that it will be difficult to teach from it. 
Of course it will be difficult to teach from it. If it were easy, 
the book ought to be burned; for it cannot be educational. 
In education, as elsewhere, the broad primrose path leads to a 
nasty place." 

But are we to say that because these books are more difficult 
than detective stories, pulp magazines, and textbooks, there- 
fore they are to remain the private property of scholars? Are 
we to hold that different rules obtain for books on the one 
hand and painting, sculpture, and music on the other? We do 
not confine people to looking at poor pictures and listening to 
poor music on the ground that they cannot understand good 
pictures and good music. We urge them to look at as many 
good pictures and hear as much good music as they can, con- 
vinced that this is the way in which they will come to under- 
stand and appreciate art and music. We would not recom- 
mend inferior substitutes, because we would be sure that they 
would degrade the public taste rather than lead it to better 
things. 

If only the specialist is to be allowed access to these 

47 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

books, on the ground that it is impossible to understand them 
without "scholarship," if the attempt to understand 
them without "scholarship" is to be condemned as irremedi- 
able superficiality, then we shall be compelled to shut out the 
majority of mankind from some of the finest creations of 
the human mind. This is aristocracy with a vengeance. 

Sir Richard Livingstone said, "No doubt a trained student 
will understand Aeschylus, Plato, Erasmus, and Pascal 
better than the man in the street; but that does not mean that 
the ordinary man cannot get a lot out of them. Am I not 
allowed to read Dante because he is full of contemporary 
allusions and my knowledge of his period is almost nil? Or 
Shakespeare, because if I had to do a paper on him in the 
Oxford Honours School of English literature, I should be 
lucky to get a fourth class? Am I not to look at a picture by 
Velasquez or Cezanne, because I shall understand and ap- 
preciate them far less than a painter or art critic would? Are 
you going to postpone any acquaintance with these great 
things to a day when we are all sufficiently educated to 
understand them a day that will never come? No, no. 
Sensible people read great books and look at great pictures 
knowing very little of Plato or Cezanne, or of the influences 
which moulded the thought or art of these men, quite 
aware of their own ignorance, but in spite of it getting a lot 
out of what they read or see." 

Sir Richard goes on to refer to the remarks of T. S. Eliot: 
"In my own experience of the appreciation of poetry I have 
always found that the less I knew about the poet and his 
work, before I began to read it, the better. An elaborate 
preparation of historical and biographical knowledge has 
always been to me a barrier. It is better to be spurred to ac- 
quire scholarship because you enjoy the poetry, than to 
suppose that you enjoy the poetry because you have acquired 
the scholarship." 



EDUCATION FOR ALL 

Even more important than the dogma of scholarship in 
keeping people from the books is the dogma of individual 
differences. This is one of the basic dogmas of American edu- 
cation. It runs like this: all men are different; therefore, all 
men require a different education; therefore, anybody who 
suggests that their education should be in any respect the 
same has ignored the fact that all men are different; therefore, 
nobody should suggest that everybody should read some of 
the same books; some people should read some books, some 
should read others. This dogma has gained such a hold on the 
minds of American educators that you will now often hear a 
college president boast that his college has no curriculum. 
Each student has a course of study framed, or "tailored" is 
the usual word, to meet his own individual needs and interests. 

We should not linger long in discussing the question of 
whether a student at the age of eighteen should be permitted 
to determine the actual content of his education for himself. 
As we have a tendency to underrate the intelligence of the 
young, we have a tendency to overrate their experience and 
the significance of the expression of interests and needs on 
the part of those who are inexperienced. Educators ought to 
know better than their pupils what an education is. If edu- 
cators do not, they have wasted their lives. The art of teach- 
ing consists in large part of interesting people in things that 
ought to interest them, but do not. The task of educators is 
to discover what an education is and then to invent the 
methods of interesting their students in it. 

But I do not wish to beg the question. The question, in ef- 
fect, is this: Is there any such thing as "an education"? The 
answer that is made by the devotees of the dogma of individ- 
ual differences is No; there are as many different educations 
as there are different individuals; it is "authoritarian" to say 
that there is any education that is necessary, or even suitable, 
for every individual. 

49 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

So Bertrand Russell once said to me that the pupil in school 
should study whatever he liked. I asked whether this was not 
a crime against the pupil. Suppose a boy did not like Shake- 
speare. Should he be allowed to grow up without knowing 
Shakespeare? And, if he did, would he not look back upon 
his teachers as cheats who had defrauded him of his cultural 
heritage? Lord Russell replied that he would require a boy to 
read one play of Shakespeare; if he did not like it, he should 
not be compelled to read any more. 

I say that Shakespeare should be a part of the education of 
everybody. The point at which he is introduced into the 
course of study, the method of arousing interest in him, the 
manner in which he is related to the problems of the present 
may vary as you will. But Shakespeare should be there be- 
cause of the loss of understanding, because of the impoverish- 
ment, that results from his absence. The comprehension of 
the tradition in which we live and our ability to communi- 
cate with others who live in the same tradition and to in- 
terpret our tradition to those who do not live in it are dras- 
tically affected by the omission of Shakespeare from the 
intellectual and artistic experience of any of us. 

If any common program is impossible, if there is no such 
thing as an education that everybody ought to have, then we 
must admit that any community is impossible. All men are 
different; but they are also the same. As we must all become 
specialists, so we must all become men. In view of the ample 
provision that is now made for the training of specialists, in 
view of the divisive and disintegrative effects of specialism, 
and in view of the urgent need for unity and community, it 
does not seem an exaggeration to say that the present crisis 
calls first of all for an education that shall emphasize those 
respects in which men are the same, rather than those in 
which they are different. The West needs an education that 
draws out our common humanity rather than our individu- 

50 



EDUCATION FOR ALL 

ality. Individual differences can be taken into account in the 
methods that are employed and in the opportunities for 
specialization that may come later. 

In this connection we might recall the dictum of Rousseau : 
"It matters little to me whether my pupil is intended for the 
army, the church, or the law. Before his parents chose a call- 
ing for him, nature called him to be a man . . . When he 
leaves me, he will be neither a magistrate, a soldier, nor a 
priest; he will be a man." 

If there is an education that everybody should have, how 
is it to be worked out? Educators are dodging their responsi- 
bility if they do not make the attempt; and I must confess 
that I regard the popularity of the dogma of individual dif- 
ferences as a manifestation of a desire on the part of educators 
to evade a painful but essential duty. The Editors of this set 
believe that these books should be central in education. But 
if anybody can suggest a program that will better accomplish 
the object they have in view, they will gladly embrace him 
and it. 



CHAPTER VII 



The Education of Adults 



T 

JLHE Editors believe that 
these books should be read by all adults all their lives. They 
concede that this idea has novel aspects. The education of 
adults has uniformly been designed either to make up for the 
deficiencies of their schooling, in which case it might termi- 
nate when these gaps had been filled, or it has consisted 
of vocational training, in which case it might terminate when 
training adequate to the post in question had been gained. 

What is here proposed is interminable liberal education. 
Even if the individual has had the best possible liberal educa- 
tion in youth, interminable education through great books 
and the liberal arts remains his obligation; he cannot expect 
to store up an education in childhood that will last all his 
life. What he can do in youth is to acquire the disciplines and 
habits that will make it possible for him to continue to edu- 
cate himself all his life. One must agree with John Dewey in 

5* 



THE EDUCATION OF ADULTS 

this: that continued growth is essential to intellectual life. 

The twin aims that have animated mankind since the dawn 
of history are the conquest of nature and the conquest of 
drudgery. Now they seem in a fair way to be achieved. And 
the achievement seems destined, at the same time, to end in 
the trivialization of life. It is impossible to believe that men 
can long be satisfied with the kind of recreations that now 
occupy the bulk of their free time. After all, they are men. 
Man, though an animal, is not all animal. He is rational, and 
he cannot live by animal gratifications alone; still less by 
amusements that animals have too much sense to indulge in. 
A man must use his mind; he must feel that he is doing some- 
thing that will develop his highest powers and contribute to 
the development of his fellow men, or he will cease to be a man. 

The trials of the citizen now surpass anything that previous 
generations ever knew. Private and public propaganda beats 
upon him from morning till night all his life long. If inde- 
pendent judgment is the sine qua non of effective citizenship in 
a democracy, then it must be admitted that such judgment is 
harder to maintain now than it ever has been before. It is too 
much to hope that a strong dose of education in childhood 
and youth can inoculate a man to withstand the onslaughts 
on his independent judgment that society conducts, or allows 
to be conducted, against him every day. For this, constant 
mental alertness and mental growth are required. 

The conception of liberal education for adults that is here 
advanced has an important effect on our conception of educa- 
tion in childhood and youth, its purpose and its content. If 
we are to expect the whole adult population to engage in 
liberal education, then the curriculum of schools, colleges, 
and universities should be constructed with this end in view. 
At present it is built upon the notion, which is unfortunately 
correct, that nobody is ever going to get any education after 
he gets out of school. Here we encounter the melancholy fact 

53 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

that most of the important things that human beings ought 
to understand cannot be comprehended in youth. 

Although I have known several astronomers who were 
contributing to the international journals before the age of 
sixteen, I have never known a child of any age who had much 
that was useful to say about the organization of human soci- 
ety or the ends of human life. The great books of ethics, 
political philosophy, economics, history, and literature do 
not yield up their secrets to the immature. In the United 
States, if these works are read at all, they are read in school 
and college, where they can be only dimly understood, and 
are never read again. Hence Americans are unlikely to under- 
stand them fully; we are deprived of the light they might 
shed upon our present problems. 

Here the theory that education must meet immediate needs 
comes in to complete the chaos in our educational institu- 
tions. If the aim of education is to meet the immediate needs 
of the person educated, and if he is never to have any more 
education after he gets out of educational institutions, then 
he must learn everything he might ever need while he is in 
these institutions. Since there is no way of telling what the 
graduate might need, the only way out is to offer him a little 
bit of everything, hoping that he will find some bits useful. 
So the American high school and college are jammed with 
miscellaneous information on every conceivable subject from 
acrobatics to zymurgy; for who can say that some future 
high-wire artist or brewer will not be found among the stu- 
dents? The great, wild proliferation of the curriculum of 
American schools, colleges, and universities is the result of 
many influences; but we can say with some assurance that if 
adult life had been looked upon as a time for continued learn- 
ing, the pressure toward proliferation would have been 
measurably reduced. 

A concern with liberal education for all adults is necessary 

54 



THE EDUCATION OF ADULTS 

if we are to have liberal education for anybody; because 
liberal education can flourish in the schools, colleges, and 
universities of a country only if the adult population under- 
stands and values it. The best way to understand and value 
something is to have it yourself. 

We hear a great deal today about the neglect of the liberal 
arts colleges and the decay of humanistic and social studies. 
It is generally assumed that all that these colleges and schol- 
ars require is money. If they had more money, their problems 
would be solved. We are led to believe that their failure to 
get money results from the obtuseness or perversity of college 
and university presidents. These officers are supposed to be 
interested in the development of natural science and tech- 
nology at the expense of the liberal arts and the humanistic 
and social studies. 

One may be permitted to doubt whether the colleges of 
liberal arts and scholars in the humanities and the social 
studies could wisely spend more money than they have. The 
deficiencies of these institutions and individuals do not seem 
to result from lack of funds, but from lack of ideas. When the 
appeal for support of a college is based on the fact that its 
amenities are almost as gracious as those of the local country 
club; when scholars in the humanities and social studies, 
misled by their misconception of the scientific method and by 
the prestige of natural science, dedicate themselves to the 
aimless accumulation of data about trivial subjects, the prob- 
lem does not seem to be financial. Unfortunately, the only 
problems that money can solve are financial problems. 

Institutions and subjects develop because people think they 
are important. The importance comes first, and the money 
afterward. The importance of experimental science is obvious 
to everybody. Science produced the atomic bomb; and the 
medical schools are doing almost as much to lengthen life as 
the departments of physics and chemistry are doing to 

55 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

shorten it. Many colleges of liberal arts and the researches 
of many scholars in the humanities and the social studies are 
important only to those whose livelihood depends upon 
them. 

Yet the great issues are there. What is our destiny? What 
is a good life? How can we achieve a good society? What can 
we learn to guide us through the mazes of the future from 
history, philosophy, literature, and the fine arts? 

These questions lie, for the most part, in the areas tradi- 
tionally assigned to the liberal arts, the humanities, and the 
social studies. If through this set of books, or in any other 
way, the adult population of laymen came to regard these 
issues as important; if scholars in these fields were actually 
engaged in wrestling with these problems; if in a large num- 
ber of homes all over the country these questions were being 
discussed, then two things would happen. It would become 
respectable for intelligent young people, young people with 
ideas, to devote their lives to the study of these issues, as it is 
respectable to be a scientist or an engineer today; and the 
colleges of liberal arts and scholars in the humanities and the 
social sciences would receive all the support they could use. 

An axiomatic educational proposition is that what is 
honored in a country will be cultivated there. One object of 
this set of books is to do honor to the great tradition of the 
West, in the conviction that this is the way in which to 
promote its cultivation, elaboration, and extension, and to 
perpetuate it to posterity. 



CHAPTER VIII 



The Next Great Change 



s, 



JlNCE education is concerned 
with the future, let us ask ourselves what we know positively 
about the future. 

We know that all parts of the world are getting closer to- 
gether in terms of the mechanical means of transportation 
and communication. We know that this will continue. The 
world is going to be unified, by conquest or consent. 

We know that the fact that all parts of the world are get- 
ting closer together does not by itself mean greater unity 
or safety in the world. It may mean that we shall all go 
up in one great explosion. 

We know that there is no defense against the most destruc- 
tive of modern weapons. Both the victor and the defeated 
will lose the next war. All the factors that formerly pro- 
tected thiscountry, geographical isolation, industrial strength, 
and military power, are now obsolete. 

57 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

We know that the anarchy of competing sovereign states 
must lead to war sooner or later. Therefore we must have 
world law, enforced by a world organization, which must 
be attained through world co-operation and community. 

We know that it will be impossible to induce all men to 
agree on all matters. The most we can hope for is to induce 
all men to be willing to discuss all matters instead of shooting 
one another about some matters. A civilization in which all 
men are compelled to agree is not one in which we would 
care to live. Under such circumstances one world would be 
worse than many; for in many worlds there is at least the 
chance of escape from one to another. The only civilization 
in which a free man would be willing to live is one that con- 
ceives of history as one long conversation leading to clarifica- 
tion and understanding. Such a civilization presupposes com- 
munication; it does not require agreement. 

We know that time is of the essence. Every day we read 
announcements of advances in transportation and ''advances" 
in destruction. We can now go round the world in the time 
it used to take to go from New York to Boston; and we can 
kill a quarter of a million people with one bomb. We are 
promised bigger and better instruments of mass murder in 
every issue of our daily papers. At the same time the hostility 
among sovereign states is deepening by the hour. 

How can we prepare for a future like this? 

We see at once that the primary, not the incidental, partici- 
pants in an educational program designed to cope with a fu- 
ture like this must be adults. They are in charge of the world. 
The rising generation, unless the adults in charge of the 
world can find some way of living together immediately, may 
never have a chance to rise. 

I do not wish to exaggerate the possibilities of adult edu- 
cation through great books and the liberal arts, or by any 
other means, as a method of preventing war. If all the adults 

58 



THE NEXT GREAT CHANGE 

in America could suddenly realize their full human potenti- 
alities, which is the object of liberal education, and the 
government of Russia remained what it is today, we might 
merely have the satisfaction of being blown up with our full 
human potentialities realized instead of unrealized. In view 
of the prevailing skepticism about the immortality of the 
soul I cannot expect American readers to regard this as more 
than a dubious consolation. 

Yet there will not be much argument against the proposi- 
tion that, on the whole, reasonable and intelligent people, 
even if they confront aggressively unreasonable or stupid 
people, have a better chance of attaining their end, which in 
this case is peace, than if they are themselves unreasonable 
and stupid. They may even be able by their example to help 
their opponents to become more reasonable and less stupid. 

The United States is now the most powerful country in the 
world. It has been a world power for a very short time. It has 
not had centuries of experience in which to learn how to dis- 
charge the responsibilities of a position into which it was cata- 
pulted against its will. Nor has it had the kind of education, 
in the last fifty years, that is conducive to understanding its 
position or to maintaining it with balance, dignity, and 
charity. An educational system that aims at vocational train- 
ing, or social adjustment, or technological advance is not 
likely to lead to the kind of maturity that the present crisis 
demands of the most powerful nation in the world. 

A country that is powerful, inexperienced, and uneducated 
can be a great danger to world peace. The United States is 
unlikely to endanger peace through malevolence. The people 
of this country do not appear to bear any ill-will toward any 
other people; nor do they want anything that any other 
people have. Since they are devoted to their own kind of 
society and government, they do not want any other nation 
to threaten the continued prosperity of their society and 

59 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

government. Any military moves made by the United States 
will be made in the conviction that they are necessary for the 
defense of this country. 

But this conviction may be mistaken. It may be hysterical, 
or it may be ignorant. We can easily blunder into war. Since 
we may have committed such a blunder even before these 
words appear in print, I must repeat that I do not wish to 
exaggerate the importance of these books, or any other means 
of adult education, as a method of preventing such a blunder. 
The time is short, and education is long. What I am saying is 
that, since education is long, and since it is indispensable, we 
should begin it right away. 

When Marshal Lyautey was in Africa, he asked his gar- 
dener to plant a certain tree, the foliage of which he liked 
very much. The gardener said that a tree of this kind took 
two hundred years to reach maturity. "In that case/' said 
the marshal, "there is no time to lose. Plant it today." 

The Great Conversation symbolizes that Civilization of 
the Dialogue which is the only civilization in which a free 
man would care to live. It promotes the realization of that 
civilization here and now. This set of books is organized on 
the principle of attaining clarification and understanding of 
the most important issues, as stated by the greatest writers 
of the West, through continuous discussion. Its object is to 
project the Great Conversation into the future and to have 
everybody participate in it. The community toward which it 
is hoped that these books may contribute is the community 
of free minds. 

Now the only defense that any nation can have is the 
character and intelligence of its people. The adequacy of that 
defense will depend upon the strength of the conviction that 
the nation is worth defending. This conviction must rest on a 
comprehension of the values for which that nation stands. In 
the case of the United States those values are to be found in 

60 



THE NEXT GREAT CHANGE 

the tradition of the West. The tradition of the West is the 
Great Conversation. 

We have repeated to ourselves so much of late the slogan, 
"America must be strong/' that we have forgotten what 
strength is. We appear to believe that strength consists of 
masses of men and machines. I do not deny that they have 
their role. But surely the essential ingredients of strength are 
trained intelligence, love of country, the understanding of its 
ideals, and such devotion to those ideals that they become a 
part of the thought and life of every citizen. 

We cannot hope to make ourselves intelligible to the rest 
of the world unless we understand ourselves. We now present 
a confusing picture to other peoples largely because we are 
ourselves confused. To take only one example, how can we 
say that we are a part of the great tradition of the West, the 
essence of which is that nothing is to be undiscussed, when 
some of our most representative citizens constantly demand 
the suppression of freedom of speech in the interest of na- 
tional security? Now that military power is obsolescent, the 
national security depends on our understanding of and devo- 
tion to such ancient Western liberties as free speech. If we 
abandon our ideals under external pressure, we give away 
without a fight what we would be fighting for if we went to 
war. We abandon the sources of our strength. 

How can we say that we are defending the tradition of the 
West if we do not know what it is? An educational program, 
for young people or adults, from which this tradition has 
disappeared, fails, of course, to transmit it to our own 
people. It also fails to convince other people that we are 
devoted to it as we claim. Any detached observer looking at 
the American educational system can see that the bulk of its 
activity is irrelevant to any of the things we know about the 
future. 

Vocationalism, scientism, and specialism can at the most 

61 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

assist our people to earn a living and thus maintain the 
economy of the United States. They cannot contribute to the 
much more important elements of national strength : trained 
intelligence, the understanding of the country's ideals, and 
devotion to them. Nor can they contribute to the growth of a 
community in this country. They are divisive rather than 
unifying forces. Vocational training, scientific experimenta- 
tion, and specialization do not have to supplant liberal edu- 
cation in order to make their economic contribution. We can 
have liberal education for all and vocational training, scien- 
tific experimentation, and specialization, too. 

We hear a great deal nowadays about international under- 
standing, world community, and world organization. These 
things are all supposed to be good; but nothing very concrete 
is put forward as to the method by which they can be at- 
tained. We can be positive on one point: we are safe in saying 
that these things will not be brought about by vocational 
training, scientific experiment, and specialization. The kind 
of education we have for young people and adults in the 
United States today will not advance these causes. I should 
like to suggest one or two ways in which they may be ad- 
vanced. 

We should first dispose of the proposition that we cannot 
have world organization, a world of law, without a world 
community. This appears to overlook the obvious inter- 
action between legal institutions and culture. As Aristotle 
pointed out long ago, law is itself an educational force. The 
Constitution of the United States educates the people every 
day to believe in and support the Constitution of the United 
States. 

World community, in the sense of perfect understanding 
among all peoples everywhere, is not required in order to 
have the beginnings of world law. What is required is that 
minimum understanding which is sufficient to allow world 

61 



THE NEXT GREAT CHANGE 

law to begin. From that point forward world law will sup- 
port world community and world community will support 
world law. 

For example, there are those who oppose the discussion of 
universal disarmament on the ground that disarmament is an 
effect and not a cause. They say that, until the tensions in the 
world are removed, disarmament cannot take place and that 
we shall simply deceive ourselves if we talk about it instead 
of doing something about the tensions. 

Actually one way to do something about the tensions is to 
talk about disarmament. The manifestation of a general will- 
ingness to disarm under effective international regulation 
and control would do more to relieve the tensions in the 
world than any other single thing. Getting together to see 
whether such a plan could be formulated would relieve ten- 
sion. No doubt there would be disappointments, and the risk 
of exacerbating international irritations; but to refuse to dis- 
cuss the principal method of mitigating tensions on the 
ground that they have to be mitigated before it is discussed 
does not seem to be the best way to mitigate them. 

What are the best ways of promoting that minimum of 
understanding which is necessary to permit world law to 
begin? If community depends on communication, we must 
ask what kinds of things can be most readily communicated 
to and comprehended by the largest number of people, and 
what kinds of things tell the most about the people who are 
doing the communicating? It appears that the kind of things 
that are most intelligible and most revealing are ideas and 
artistic objects. They are most readily understood; they are 
most characteristic of the peoples who have produced or 
stated them. 

We can learn more about another people from their artistic 
and intellectual productions than we can from all the statis- 
tics and data that can ever be collected. We can learn more, 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

that is, of what we need to know in order to found a world 
community. We can learn more in the sense that we can un- 
derstand more. What we have in this set of books is a means 
by which people who can read English can understand the 
West. We in the West can understand ourselves and one 
another; peoples in other parts of the world can understand 
us. 

This leads to the idea that Scott Buchanan has put forward, 
the idea of a world republic of law and justice and a world re- 
public of learning mutually supporting each other. Any re- 
public maintains its justice, peace, freedom, and order by the 
exercise of intelligence. Every assent on the part of the 
governed is a product of learning. A republic is a common 
educational life in process. So Montesquieu said that as the 
principle of an aristocracy was honor, and the principle of a 
tyranny was fear, the principle of a democracy was educa- 
tion. Thomas Jefferson took him seriously. Now we discover 
that a little learning is a dangerous thing. We see now that 
we need more learning, more real learning, for everybody. 

The republic of learning is that republic toward which all 
mere political republics gravitate, and which they must serve 
if they are to be true to themselves. No one saw this before 
yesterday, and we only today are able to begin to measure 
what we should do about it tomorrow. The immediate in- 
ference from this insight is a Utopia for today, the extension 
of universal education to every man and woman, from child- 
hood to the grave. It is time to take education away from the 
scholars and school teachers and to open the gates of the 
republic of learning to those who can and will make it re- 
sponsible to humanity. 

Learning is in principle and should be in fact the highest 
common good, to be defended as a right and worked for as an 
end. All men are capable of learning, according to their 
abilities. Learning does not stop as long as a man lives, unless 



THE NEXT GREAT CHANGE 

his learning power atrophies because he does not use it. 
Political freedom cannot last without provision for the free 
unlimited acquisition of knowledge. Truth is not long re- 
tained in human affairs without continual learning and re- 
learning. A political order is tyrannical if it is not rational. 
If we aim at a world republic of law and justice, we must 
recover and revive the great tradition of liberal human 
thought, rethink our knowledge in its light and shadow, and 
set up the devices of learning by which everybody can, per- 
haps for the first time, become a citizen of the world. The 
kind of understanding that comes through belonging to the 
world republic of learning is the kind that constitutes the 
world community. The world republic of law and justice is 
nothing but the political expression of the world republic of 
learning and the world community. 



CHAPTER IX 



East and West 




.T this point I hear some 
reader say, "The world community and the world republic of 
law and justice must be composed of all peoples everywhere. 
These are great books of the West. How can comprehension 
of the tradition they embody amount to participation in the 
world republic of learning? How can such comprehension 
promote world community, since great books of the East are 
not included?" 

The Editors reply that there is undoubtedly to be a meeting 
of East and West. It is now going on, under rather unsatisfac- 
tory conditions. The Editors believe that those who come to 
the meeting with some grasp of the full range of the Western 
tradition will be more likely to understand the East than 
those who have attended any number of the hastily instituted 
survey courses about the East proposed by educators who 
have been suddenly impressed by the necessity of understand- 

66 



EAST AND WEST 

ing the East and whose notion is that the way to understand 
anything is to get a lot of information about it. 

The Editors are impressed by the many reminders given to 
the West by Eastern thinkers that the parts of the Western 
tradition that are now the least known and the least respect- 
ed in America are the very parts most likely to help us 
understand the deepest thought of the East. On the other 
hand, the Editors are convinced that those aspects of the 
West which the East finds most terrifying, its materialism, 
rapacity, and ethnocentric pride, will get no support from 
those great books which indicate the main line of the 
Western pursuit of wisdom. The Editors believe that an 
education based on the full range of the Western search is far 
more likely to produce a genuine openness about the East, a 
genuine capacity to understand it, than any other form of 
education now proposed or practicable. 

The West can try, as the saying goes, to "win" the East by 
coming to the meetings between them with a few words ad- 
justed directly to the questions that arise from the manner in 
which the East is, as the saying goes, "awakening." There 
is no question that the West will inevitably be represented at 
these meetings by a good many of those social engineers who 
feel, in all ignorance, that they represent in splendor what 
twenty-five centuries of Western civilization have been labor- 
ing to produce. Scientific humanism, which has been vigor- 
ously and in high places presented as the new religion that 
the new one world needs, will certainly be represented. Some 
representatives will surely be making the offer of the magic 
trro: scientific method, technology, and the American Way 
of Life. 

It seems safe to predict, however, that these representa- 
tives of the West are likely to be understood only by those in 
the East who have already decided for "westernization." 
These representatives of the West may be considerably non- 

67 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

pluscd by those in the East who are determined, however 
much they "awaken" in certain respects, to retain the cen- 
tral convictions and habits of thought of Eastern culture. 

As Ananda Coomaraswamy has said, "It is true that there 
is a modernized, uprooted East, with which the West can 
compete-, but it is only with the surviving, superstitious East 
Gandhi's East, the one that has never attempted to live 
by bread alone that the West can co-operate ." 

In seeking the co-operation of this modernized, uprooted 
East the Western social engineers will find themselves, as is 
already menacingly clear, competing with the rulers of the 
Soviet Union. These rulers are bringing to the meetings of 
East and West a far more ruthless version of this latter-day 
shrunken Western voice. Their words are adjusted far more 
directly to the exact questions that are involved in the 
"awakening" of the East. The Russians seem prepared to 
offer the new Easterners a program uncomplicated by any 
concern about the old East. Perhaps these new Easterners, 
under Russian guidance, may carry through a new kind of re- 
flexive imperialism, more ruthless toward "the superstitious 
East, Gandhi's East," than any Western imperialist ever was. 

If the East, contrary to its deepest traditions, becomes 
totally absorbed with material comfort, there will be little 
about the East that we shall have to understand, since we al- 
ready understand that kind of absorption only too well. We 
have never pictured the East as coming to share it. If the 
East does come to share it, the change may shock us, but it 
will raise no very difficult question of understanding. 

If, on the other hand, the awakening East tries to retain, 
beneath the new vigor of the drive toward material goods, 
its various forms of traditional religion, metaphysics, and 
ethics, the West, in trying to co-operate with the East, has 
something to understand. 

Under these circumstances anyone anywhere, in or out of 

68 



EAST AND WEST 

the universities, who has attained some competence to bring 
forth a reading of the East that the West can understand, 
should be encouraged in every way to increase his compe- 
tence and to make the results of his studies available. But 
the number of persons who can claim even such an initial 
competence is very small. Therefore it is absurd to suggest, 
as many laymen and scholars are doing today, that a large 
part of the course of study of our educational system should 
be devoted to "understanding the East/' 

Few persons are less helpful to the world than those edu- 
cators, infatuated with the magic of curriculum changes, who 
think that the teachers or the teachability of any subject 
they dream of can spring into existence by curricular de- 
cree. It is irresponsible to suggest that the East can be 
given a major place in the education of everybody when no 
more than a handful of teachers exists who could decently 
commit themselves to the teaching of such courses. The 
"understanding" of the East that would emerge from such 
courses, taught by instructors who had hastily "read up" on 
the East, could set communication and understanding back 
for generations. 

Professor John D. Wild of Harvard has lately commented 
on some educational proposals of Professor Howard Mum- 
ford Jones of Harvard. Mr. Wild says: "I gather that Mr. 
Jones is worried about our capacity really to understand 
Russia and to set up a co-operative world community. So am 
I. But I am unable to follow him in the assumption that these 
crucially important aims will be achieved merely by setting 
up more machinery, professors, and secretaries, more fields 
and areas called 'the study of Russia* and 'the study of the 
Orient*. How are these things to be studied; from what sort 
of integrating point of view? Is he proposing an amalgam of 
Western, Chinese, and Russian culture? If so, what would 
this be like? Or is he proposing a sort of cultural relativism 

69 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

in which every one seeks to divest himself so far as possible 
from all the culture he had? I do not believe that Mr. Jones is 
advocating either of these alternatives. I gather that he is in- 
terested in correcting the economic and social injustices that 
distort our present civilization, that he wishes to see the vast 
power which modern technology has put into our hands used 
intelligently for the common good. All this is in line with 
the best philosophical and religious thought of our western 
tradition, when properly understood. I gather further that he 
feels that we should be humble about the rather rudimentary 
civilization we now possess at this early stage, precious as it 
is, and that we should be open to suggestions from alien 
sources. This also is thoroughly in line with what is best in 
our own tradition. If this is what Mr. Jones means, then what 
we need most of all is to recall the basic insights and prin- 
ciples (religious as well as philosophical) upon which our 
western culture was founded, and then apply them to the 
critical problems of our time." 

So also Professor Louis W. Norris: "Professor Jones has 
entered a strong and just plea for the relevance of education 
to its times. But there is grave danger here that the timeliness 
of education should obscure its timelessness. Socrates and 
Plato, as Professor Jones says, (and even more truly Aristotle) 
'struggled with the local political problem/ But the very 
reason they were able to make such helpful comments about 
social, ethical and political questions was, that they were 
even more concerned to find out the 'forms' of things that 
were timeless. Without the 'definitions' of Socrates, the 
'ideas' of Plato and the 'forms' of Aristotle, their 'radio 
commentating' would have been shallow gibberish, forgotten 
as soon as ninety-nine per cent of present commentary. A 
frantic concern to understand Russia or the Orient will lead 
us nowhere, unless the student brings to these problems skill 
in analysis, order in valuing, knowledge of history, and such 

70 



EAST AND WEST 

social experience as gives him a basis for judging what he 
finds out about Russia and the Orient." 

There is no reason why the West should feel that it must 
apologize for a determination to retain and renew a sense of 
its own character and its own range. Western civilization is 
one of the greatest civilizations to date. Not in a spirit of 
arrogance, but in a spirit of concern that nothing good be 
lost for the future, the West should take to its meetings with 
the East a full and vivid sense of its own achievements. 

Nothing in the main line of the Western tradition leads to 
ethnocentric pride or cultural provincialism. If the West has 
been guilty of these sins, it is not because of its fidelity to its 
own character, but because of the many kinds of human 
weakness that always afflict any "successful" society. 

Moreover, if we are to believe such an eminent student of 
this matter as Coomaraswamy, the Western tradition con- 
tains within itself elements that permit bridging to the 
deepest elements of Eastern traditions. Presumably we can 
build these bridges best if we understand the nature of the 
ground where the bridge begins. 

Coomaraswamy says: "If ever the gulf between East and 
West, of which we are made continually more aware as 
physical intimacies are forced upon us, is to be bridged, it 
will be only by an agreement on principles. ... A philosophy 
identical with Plato's is still a living force in the East. . . . 
Understanding requires a recognition of common values. For 
so long as men cannot think with other peoples, they have 
not understood, but only known them; and in this situation 
it is largely an ignorance of their own intellectual heritage 
that stands in the way of understanding and makes an un- 
familiar way of thinking to seem 'queer'." 

The irony here is that those who talk most about the need 
to change the course of study in order to promote understand- 
ing of the East would be those who would proclaim most 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

loudly the obsolescence of those parts of the Western tradi- 
tion (for example, Plato, Plotinus, Augustine, and the 
Western mystical and metaphysical tradition) which are 
perhaps equivalent, with some transformation, to the im- 
portant parts of Eastern traditions. Such people would 
vigorously oppose an education requiring everybody to try 
to understand those things in the West which have the best 
chance of leading to a genuine understanding of the East; but 
for all that they vigorously propose that we understand the 
East. 

The more dogmatic of those who feel that most of the 
Western tradition is obsolete, and who take scientific hu- 
manism as the new religion, are not likely to regard the prob- 
lem of relations with the East as one of understanding, 
though they will use the phrase. They will see in the East 
little but backwardness, and will mark down Eastern ritual 
and mysticism as something scheduled for early technologi- 
cal demolition. One can imagine the indignant astonishment 
with which a beneficent American social engineer would 
greet the word of an earnest and respected student of the 
East, Rene Guenon, that "everything in the East is seen as 
the application and extension of a doctrine which in essence 
is purely intellectual and metaphysical/' 

Any widespread achievement of understanding between 
East and West will have to wait on the production of an 
adequate supply of liberally educated Westerners. Mean- 
while, the problem is simply how to produce such a supply. 
The pretense that we are now prepared within the educa- 
tional system at large to include understanding the East as 
one main pivot in a liberal curriculum will obstruct, not as- 
sist, the solution of the central problem of producing a 
liberally educated generation. 

Unquestionably all the purposes that validate the publica- 
tion of great books lead logically to Great Books of the 

72- 



EAST AND WEST 

World, not of any part of the world. But at the moment we 
have all we can do to understand ourselves in order to be 
prepared for the forthcoming meetings between East and 
West. Those who want to add more great books of Eastern 
origin are deceiving themselves. The time for that will come 
when we have understood our own tradition well enough 
to understand another. 

We may take to heart the message given the West by one 
of the great modern representatives of another culture. 
Charles Malik has said: "In all this we are really touching 
upon the great present crisis in western culture. We are say- 
ing when that culture mends its own spiritual fences, all will 
be well with the Near East, and not with the Near East alone. 
We are saying it is not a simple thing to be the heir of the 
Graeco-Roman-Christian-European synthesis and not to be 
true to its deepest visions. One can take the ten greatest 
spirits in that synthesis and have them judge the perform- 
ance of the Western world in relation to the Near East. The 
deep problem of the Near East then must await the spiritual 
recovery of the West. And he does not know the truth who 
thinks that the West does not have in its own tradition the 
means and power wherewith it can once again be true to 
itself." 



73 



CHAPTER X 



A Letter to the Reader 



i 



IMAGINE you reading this far 
in this set of books for the purpose of discovering whether 
you should read further. I will assume that you have been 
persuaded of the necessity and possibility of reading these 
books in order to get a liberal education. But how about you? 
The Editors are not interested in general propositions about 
the desirability of reading the books; they want them read. 
They did not produce them as furniture for public or private 
libraries. 

We say that these books contain a liberal education and 
that everybody ought to try to get one. You say either that 
you have had one, that you are not bright enough to get one, 
or that you do not need one. 

You cannot have had one. If you are an American under 
the age of ninety, you can have acquired in the educational 
system only the faintest glimmerings of the beginnings of 

74 



A LETTER TO THE READER 

liberal education. Ask yourself what whole great books you 
read while you were in school, college, or university. Ask 
yourself whether you and your teachers saw these books as a 
Great Conversation among the finest minds of Western 
history, and whether you obtained an understanding of the 
tradition in which you live. Ask yourself whether you 
mastered the liberal arts. I am willing to wager that, if you 
read any great books at all, you read very few, that you read 
one without reference to the others, in separate courses, and 
that for the most part you read only excerpts from them. 

As for me, I was educated in two very "liberal" colleges. 
Apart from Shakespeare, who was scattered through my 
education, I read one of the books in this set, Goethe's 
Faust, and part of another, a few of the dialogues of Plato, as 
part of my formal education. I do not remember that I ever 
heard the name of Thomas Aquinas or Plotinus, when I was 
in college. I am not even sure that I heard of Karl Marx. I 
heard of many of the great scientific writers, but avoided 
association with them on the ground that they were too 
difficult for me I gloried in the possession of an "unmathe- 
matical" mind and I did not need to read them, because I 
was not going to be a scientist. 

But suppose that you have in some way hammered out for 
yourself the kind of education that colleges ought to give. 
If you have done so, you belong to a rare and small species, 
rare and small, but not unknown. If you have read all these 
books, read them again. What makes them great is, among 
other things, that they teach you something every time you 
read them. Every time, you see something you had not seen 
before; you understand something you had missed; no matter 
how hard your mind worked before, it works again. 

And this is the point: every man's mind ought to keep 
working all his life long; every man's imagination should be 
touched as often as possible by the great works of imagina- 

75 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

tion; every man ought to push toward the horizons of his 
intellectual powers all the time. It is impossible to have 
"had" a liberal education, except in a formal, accidental, im- 
material sense. Liberal education ought to end only with life 
itself. 

I must reiterate that you can set no store by your education 
in childhood and youth, no matter how good it was. Child- 
hood and youth are no time to get an education. They are the 
time to get ready to get an education. The most that we can 
hope for from these uninteresting and chaotic periods of life 
is that during them we shall be set on the right path, the 
path of realizing our human possibilities through intel- 
lectual effort and aesthetic appreciation. The great issues, 
now issues of life and death for civilization, call for mature 
minds. 

There is a simple test of this. Take any great book that you 
read in school or college and have not read since. Read it 
again. Your impression that you understood it will at once 
be corrected. Think what it means, for instance, to read 
Macbeth at sixteen in contrast to reading it at thirty-five. We 
can understand Macbeth as Shakespeare meant us to under- 
stand it only when we have had some experience, vicarious 
or otherwise, of marriage and ambition. To read great books, 
if we read them at all, in childhood and youth and never read 
them again is never to understand them. 

Can you ever understand them? There is a sense in which 
nobody can. That is why the Great Conversation never ends. 
Jean Cocteau said that each great work in Western thought 
arises as a contradiction of one that precedes it. This is not 
the result of the perversity or vanity of these writers. No- 
body can make so clear and comprehensive and accurate a 
statement of the basic issues of human life as to close the dis- 
cussion. Every statement calls for explanation, correction, 
modification, expansion, or contradiction. 



A LETTER TO THE READER 

There is, too, the infinite suggestiveness of great books. 
They lead us to other books, other thoughts, other questions. 
They enlarge the fund of ideas we have and relate themselves 
to those we possess. Since the suggestiveness of great books 
is infinite, we cannot get to the end of them. We cannot say 
we understand these books in the sense that we are finished 
with them and what they have to teach us. 

The question for you is only whether you can ever under- 
stand these books well enough to participate in the Great 
Conversation, not whether you can understand them well 
enough to end it. And the answer is that you can never know 
until you try. We have built up around the "classics" such 
an atmosphere of pedantry, we have left them so long to the 
scholarly dissectors, that we think of them as incompre- 
hensible to the ordinary man to whom they were originally 
addressed. At the same time our education has undergone so 
drastic a process of dilution that we are ill-equipped, even 
after graduation from a respectable college, to tackle any- 
thing much above the level of the comic book. 

The decay of education in the West, which is felt most pro- 
foundly in America, undoubtedly makes the task of under- 
standing these books more difficult than it was for earlier 
generations. In fact my observation leads me to the horrid 
suspicion that these books are easier for people who have had 
no formal education than they are for those who have ac- 
quired that combination of misinformation, unphilosophy, 
and slipshod habits that is the usual result of the most 
elaborate and expensive institutional education in America. 

For one thing, those who have had no formal education are 
less likely to labor under prejudices about the writers con- 
tained in this set. They have not heard, or at least not so 
often, that these authors are archaic, unrealistic and incom- 
prehensible. They approach the books as they would ap- 
proach any others, with a much more open mind than their 

77 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

more sophisticated, or more miseducated, contemporaries. 
They have not been frightened by their education. 

If you will pick up any one of these books and start to 
read it, you will find it not nearly so formidable as you 
thought. In one way the great books are the most difficult, 
and in another way the easiest, books for any of us to read. 
They are the most difficult because they deal with the most 
difficult problems that men can face, and they deal with 
them in terms of the most complex ideas. But, treating the 
most difficult subjects of human thought, the great books 
are the clearest and simplest expression of the best think- 
ing that can be done on these subjects. On the fundamental 
problems of mankind, there are no easier books to read. If 
you will pick up any other, after you have read the first, 
you will find that you understand the second more easily 
than you did the first and the first better than you did be- 
fore. The criteria for choosing each book in this set were 
excellence of construction and composition, immediate in- 
telligibility on the aesthetic level, increasing intelligibility 
with deeper reading and analysis, leading to maximum depth 
and maximum range of significance with more than one level 
of meaning and truth. 

In our colleges the curriculum is often so arranged that 
taking one course is made prerequisite to taking another. The 
pedagogical habit ingrained by such arrangements may 
prompt the question: What reading is prerequisite to reading 
great books? The answer is simply None. For the understand- 
ing of great books it is not necessary to read background 
materials or secondary works about them. But there is one 
sense in which the reading of a great book may involve pre- 
requisite reading. Except for Homer, the authors of great 
books who come later in the course of the Great Conversation 
enter into it themselves as a result of reading the earlier 
authors. Thus, Plato is a reader of the Homeric poems and of 

78 



A LETTER TO THE READER 

the tragedies and comedies; and Aristotle is a reader of all of 
these and Plato, too. Dante and Montaigne are readers of 
most of the Greek and Roman books, not only the poetry and 
history, but the science and philosophy as well. John Stuart 
Mill, Karl Marx, William James, and Sigmund Freud are 
readers of almost all the books in this set. 

This suggests that we, as readers of a particular great book, 
can be helped in reading it by reading first some of the books 
its author read before writing it. The chronological order of 
the works in this set is a good reading order precisely because 
earlier books are in a way the prerequisite reading for later 
books. 

But though earlier books prepare for later ones, it is also 
true that reading one great book makes reading another 
easier, no matter in what order they are read. Though earlier 
books contribute to the education of the authors of later ones, 
the later authors do more than reflect this influence. They 
also comment on and interpret the meaning of the earlier 
works; they report and take issue with the opinions of their 
predecessors. Looked at forward or backward in the time- 
sequence, one great book throws light on another; and as the 
number of great books one has read in any order increases, the 
voices in the Great Conversation tend more and more to 
speak in the present tense, as if all the authors were con- 
temporaneous with one another, responding directly to each 
other's thought. 

It takes imaginative and intellectual work to read a book, 
and facility and achievement grow by exercise. In this set 
each book is readable ultimately because of its place in the 
tradition. These books are aware of and responsive to other 
books, to those which come after them as well as to those 
which came before. Any good book that is not in the set 
should be able to find itself subsumed under and related to 
these great books. Any man should be able, perhaps with some 

79 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

effort, to find his own mind belonging to the discourse in 
these books. Some degree of understanding of these books 
should convince you that you are able to read and under- 
stand progressively any good book, and to criticize with in- 
tegrity and security anything written for publication. These 
books are genuinely intelligible, perhaps late and with 
difficulty, but ultimately and intrinsically. 

Do you need a liberal education? We say that it is unpatri- 
otic not to read these books. You may reply that you are 
patriotic enough without them. We say that you are gravely 
cramping your human possibilities if you do not read these 
books. You may answer that you have troubles enough al- 
ready. 

This answer is the one that Ortega attacks in The Revolt of 
the Masses. It assumes that we can leave all intellectual ac- 
tivity, and all political responsibility, to somebody else and 
live our lives as vegetable beneficiaries of the moral and in- 
tellectual virtue of other men. The trouble with this assump- 
tion is that, whereas it was once possible, and even com- 
pulsory, for the bulk of mankind, such indulgence now, on 
the part of anybody, endangers the whole community. It is 
now necessary for everybody to try to live, as Ortega says, 
"at the height of his times." The democratic enterprise is 
imperiled if any one of us says, "I do not have to try to think 
for myself, or make the most of myself, or become a citizen of 
the world republic of learning. " The death of democracy is 
not likely to be an assassination from ambush. It will be a 
slow extinction from apathy, indifference, and undernourish- 
ment. 

The reply that Edmund Burke gave to the movement for 
the extension of the suffrage is the one that the majority of 
men unconsciously supports. Burke developed the doctrine of 
" virtual representation," which enabled him to claim that 
all power should reside in the hands of the few, in his case in 

80 



A LETTER TO THE READER 

the hands of the landed aristocracy. They had the qualifica- 
tions for governing: intelligence, leisure, patriotism, and 
education. They 'Virtually" represented the rest of the com- 
munity, even though the rest of the community had not 
chosen them to do so. Burke was not interested in the educa- 
tion of the people, because, though government was to be 
conducted in their interest, it was unthinkable that they 
could determine what their interest was. They had neither 
the information, the intelligence, nor the time to govern 
themselves. "I have often endeavoured," he says, "to com- 
pute and to class those who, in any political view are to be 
called the people. ... In England and Scotland, I compute 
that those of adult age, not declining in life, of tolerable 
leisure for such discussions, and of some means of informa- 
tion, and who are above menial dependence (or what virtu- 
ally is such), may amount to about four hundred thousand." 
At that time the population of the British Isles was between 
eight and ten million. 

This is indeed the only reply that can be made to the de- 
mand for universal suffrage. It is an attack, and a direct one, 
on the essential principle of democracy. The virtual repre- 
sentatives of the people are, in Burke's view, in no sense ac- 
countable to them. They are responsible to their own con- 
sciences, and perhaps to God. But the only way in which the 
people could call their virtual representatives to time would 
be through revolution, a prospect that Burke would be the 
first to deprecate. In his view only those in possession of 
power are in a position to decide whether or not they should 
have it. On this principle any totalitarian dictatorship can 
justify itself. 

Dramatically opposed to a position such as that of Burke 
is the American faith in democracy, and in education in re- 
lation to democracy, stated succinctly by Jefferson: "I know 
of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but 

81 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened 
enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discre- 
tion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform 
their discretion by education/' 

We who say, then, that we believe in democracy cannot 
content ourselves with virtual education any more than we 
can with virtual representation. We have not the option of 
deciding for ourselves whether or not we shall be liberal 
artists, because we are committed to the proposition that all 
men shall be free. We cannot admit that ordinary people 
cannot have a good education, because we cannot agree that 
democracy must involve a degradation of the human ideal. 
Anything less than the effort to help everybody get the best 
education necessarily implies that some cannot achieve in 
their own measure our human ideal. We cannot concede that 
the conquest of nature, the conquest of drudgery, and the 
conquest of political power must lead in combination to 
triviality in education and hence in all the other occupations 
of life. The aim of education is wisdom, and each must have 
the chance to become as wise as he can. 



POSSIBLE APPROACHES TO THIS SET 



POSSIBLE APPROACHES TO THIS SET 



.TOR REASONS that have been given, the Editors decided against any 
prefaces or explanatory apparatus in the several volumes of this set. The 
decision was made to let the great books speak for themselves. The Edi- 
tors believe that the great books do not need explanation in order to be 
comprehended by the ordinary reader. 

But the ordinary reader, considering the set as a whole, may well ask 
where he should begin reading and how he should proceed. The Editors 
have several suggestions to offer. 

The first suggestion is a reminder that the Syntopicon, which comprises 
Volumes 2 and 3, provides one kind of answer to the question about 
where to start and where to go in the reading of the set as a whole. The 
Syntopicon invites the reader to make on the set whatever demands arise 
from his own problems and interests. It is constructed to enable the reader, 
no matter what the stages of his reading in other ways, to find that part of the 
Great Conversation inwhich any topic that interests him is being discussed. 

As explained in the Preface to the Syntopicon, its 2,987 topics are organ- 
ized under 102 basic ideas, to each of which a chapter is devoted; particular 
topics can also be located by reference to the 1,798 key terms listed in the 
Inventory of Terms (Volume 3, pp. 1303-1345). When the reader has lo- 
cated the topic of his interest, the Syntopicon shows him how to follow the 
discussion of it that occurs in the twenty-five centuries of the Great Con- 
versation. The Preface to the Syntopicon (Volume 2, pp. xi-xxxi) further 
explains its structure and describes the various uses to which it can be put 
as a guide to the contents of this set as a whole. 

85 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

The Syntopicon helps the reader to begin reading in the great books on 
ny subject or subjects in which he is interested, and to follow one idea 
r one theme through the books from beginning to end. Such syntopical 
jading in the set as a whole, for its varied discourse on a particular theme, 
ipplements the gradual reading of the books taken as individual wholes, 
aluable in itself, syntopical reading should bring the reader to an ac- 
uaintance with the whole set and thus prepare him to select the particular 
ooks he will wish to start reading as wholes. 

Yet, apart from the help he will get from syntopical reading, the ordi- 
iry reader may still ask with what book he should begin and in what order 
e should proceed to read the works in this set. One answer is, of course, 
lat he can begin at the beginning, or with any book that especially inter- 
its him, and go where the books themselves will lead him. As parts of the 
Teat Conversation, one book naturally leads to another both forward and 
ickward in the time-sequence; each book also leads to many others that 
*al with the same subject or have some affinity in style or treatment. 
If the reader wishes to concentrate for a time on books dealing with one 
ibject matter or with books of a certain kind, such as poetry, history, 
lilosophy, or science, he will find some guidance in the colors in which 
ie books are bound. The volumes bound in yellow contain epic and dra- 
atic poetry, satires, and novels. Those bound in blue contain histories 
id works in ethics, economics, politics, and jurisprudence. Those bound 
green contain mathematics and the natural sciences works in astron- 
tny, physics, chemistry, biology, and psychology. Those bound in red 
mtain philosophy and theology. 

Since the individual volumes often include many works by a single au- 
,or, and sometimes the works of several authors, the classification of the 
>lumes according to the kinds or subject matters indicated above could 
)t always be an adequate representation of their contents. Each volume 
placed in one or another of the four large groupings in terms of the 
edominant character of an author's work. But the works of certain au- 
ors cross the line of this or any other simple classification, and certain 
ithors contribute major works in a variety of fields. 
For example, Volume 53, which contains William James' Principles of 
ychology, is grouped with works in natural science, but it also deserves 



POSSIBLE APPROACHES 

to be considered as a contribution to philosophy. Volumes 7, 8, and 9, 
which contain the writings of Plato and Aristotle, or Volumes 19, 20, 31, 
33, 42, and 46, which contain the writings of Aquinas, Descartes, Pascal, 
Kant, and Hegel, are classified as philosophy and theology because that 
accords with the predominant character of their authors, but among 
the writings that these volumes contain are works in moral and political 
science, in jurisprudence, in mathematics, in physics, and in biology. 

The color of the binding, therefore, serves only as a rough indication of 
the grouping of the authors and the works according to their literary char- 
acter or their subject matter. For a more precise selection of individual 
works of a certain sort, the reader must consult the actual titles of the 
works that comprise Great Books of the Western World. With few excep- 
tions, they plainly indicate the character of the works they name. 

To aid the reader in making this selection for himself, if he wishes to 
concentrate on one subject matter or one kind of book, the Editors have 
provided on pages 93-110 a complete enumeration, volume by volume, of 
the full titles of all the works included in Great Books of the Western World. 

Still another suggestion can be offered in response to the question about 
the order of reading the books. The Editors have used these books for 
many years in teaching young people and in leading discussions with 
groups of adults. They have found that reading whole works or integral 
parts of works in chronological order and in an ascending scale of diffi- 
culty is an effective way of going through the books. This plan has been 
widely used in the reading courses in great books that are now conducted 
by some colleges and universities and by the Great Books Foundation 
in its program of liberal education for adults. It is a plan that is equally 
good for individual reading. 

This plan of reading for this set is set forth on pages 1 12-13 1. It consists 
of reading lists for ten successive years. In their general pattern, these read- 
ing lists resemble the lists that have been tried and tested by the Great Books 
Foundation. But they differ in many particulars, largely as a result of the 
fact that works that are included in the present lists were not procurable or 
readily available until the publication of Great Books of the Western World. 

In this ten-year plan of reading there are eighteen selections for each 
year, and for each selection the reader is given, in addition to author and 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

title, the volume and page numbers that quickly locate the selection in 
this set of books. 

The selections in each list follow, with one exception, the order of the 
volumes. That one exception occurs in the first-year list, where Plato's 
Apology and Crito (in Volume 7) were placed before Aristophanes' Clouds 
and Lysistrata (in Volume 5) because these dialogues of Plato constitute so 
excellent an introduction to the Great Conversation. The arrangement of 
the selections according to the order of the volumes in which they are to 
be found places the readings recommended in each list in the chronological 
order of the Great Conversation itself. Again, there are a few exceptions 
that result from the fact that some volumes in the set, in which several 
authors are grouped together, contain writings that are one or more cen- 
turies apart in time. 

Each list includes a wide variety of books almost always poetry, his- 
tory, and morals or politics, as well as theology, philosophy, and science. 
The 1 80 selections recommended in the ten lists represent every author 
included in Great Books of the Western World, though they by no means 
exhaust the contents of this set. For certain authors, notably the poets 
and the novelists, the recommended readings cover all their work here 
published; but for other authors, the selections are only a fair sampling of 
the range and variety of their contributions to the Great Conversation. 
Because the brevity of the selections was one consideration in the con- 
struction of these lists, especially in the early years, it was necessary to 
recommend, in the case of certain long works, the reading of successive 
portions in successive years. But whenever the parts of a single work are 
divided among several years, or whenever different works by the same 
author are placed in successive years, the selections are so arranged that 
the reader is carried through a particular book or through a number of 
works in an order that accords with the structure of the book or the rela- 
tion of the works. 

Each list has several centers of interest or several connecting themes. 
Each list represents several phases of the Great Conversation. The lists 
get more difficult from year to year in two ways. The selections get longer, 
and they deal with more difficult subject matters. The list for the tenth 
year, for example, assumes that the reader has completed the reading sug- 

88 



POSSIBLE APPROACHES 

gested for the other nine, and that the reading he has already engaged in 
and the books he has already read afford him a certain facility and back- 
ground for understanding the selections in the tenth year. 

The reader who completes this ten-year program will have become ac- 
quainted with the range and depth of the Great Conversation. Complet- 
ing a program of this sort, he will have read, in whole or part, all the 
authors, though not all the works of every author. He will have a sense 
of the relations of the authors to one another and of the variety and rela- 
tions of the ideas with which they deal. He will be in a position to take 
part in the Great Conversation and should be able to carry his reading of 
great books on for the rest of his life under the direction of his own 
interests. 



/: The Contents of 
Great Books of the Western World 



THE CONTENTS OF 
GREAT BOOKS OF THE WESTERN WORLD 



VOLUME 1 

THE GREAT CONVERSATION: THE SUBSTANCE OF A LIBERAL 

EDUCATION 

VOLUME 2 
THE GREAT IDEAS, A SYNTOPICON OP GREAT BOOKS OP THE 

WESTERN WORLD [I. Angel to Love] 

VOLUME 3 

THE GREAT IDEAS, A SYNTOPICON OP GREAT BOOKS OP THE 
WESTERN WORLD [II. Man to World; Bibliography of Additional 
Readings; Inventory of Terms] 

VOLUME 4 
HOMER, THE ILIAD THE ODYSSEY 

VOLUME 5 

AESCHYLUS (c. 525-456 B.C.) 

THE SUPPLIANT MAIDENS PROMETHEUS BOUND 
THE PERSIANS AGAMEMNON 

THE SEVEN AGAINST THEBES CHOEPHOROE 

EUMENIDES 

SOPHOCLES (c. 495-406 B.C.) 
OEDIPUS THE KING A] AX 

OEDIPUS AT COLONUS ELECTRA 

ANTIGONE TRACHINIAE 

PHILOCTETES 

93 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

EURIPIDES (c. 480-406 B.C.) 

RHESUS ELECTRA 

MEDEA THE BACCHANTES 

HIPPOLYTUS HECUBA 

ALCEST1S HERACLES MAD 

HERACLEIDAE THE PHOENICIAN MAIDENS 

THE SUPPLIANTS ORESTES 

THE TROJAN WOMEN IPHIGENIA AMONG THE 
ION TAURI 

HELEN IPHIGENIA AT AULIS 

ANDROMACHE THE CYCLOPS 

ARISTOPHANES (c. 445-*. 380 B.C.) 
THE ACHARNIANS THE BIRDS 

THE KNIGHTS THE FROGS 

THE CLOUDS THE LYSISTRATA 

THE WASPS THE THESMOPHORIAZUSAE 

THE PEACE THE ECCLESIAZUSAE 

THE PLUTUS 

VOLUME 6 

HERODOTUS (c. 484-C-425 B.C.), THE HISTORY 

THUCYDIDES (c. 460-*. 400 B.C.), THE HISTORY OF THE PELOPON- 

NESIAN WAR 

VOLUME 7 
PLATO (f.428-f. 348 B.C.) 

CHARMIDES SYMPOSIUM 

LYSIS MENO 

LACHES EUTHYPHRO 

PROTAGORAS APOLOGY 

EUTHYDEMUS CRITO 

CRATYLUS PHAEDO 

PHAEDRUS GORGIAS 

ION THE REPUBLIC 

94 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 

TIMAEUS SOPHIST 

CRITIAS STATESMAN 

PARMENIDES PHILEBUS 

THEAETETUS LAWS 

THE SEVENTH LETTER 

VOLUME 8 

ARISTOTLE (384-322 B.C.) 

CATEGORIES ON INTERPRETATION 
PRIOR ANALYTICS POSTERIOR ANALYTICS TOPICS 

ON SOPHISTICAL REFUTATIONS PHYSICS 

ON THE HEAVENS ON GENERATION AND CORRUPTION 

METEOROLOGY METAPHYSICS ON THE SOUL 

ON SENSE AND THE SENSIBLE 
ON MEMORY AND REMINISCENCE 

ON SLEEP AND SLEEPLESSNESS 
ON DREAMS ON PROPHESYING BY DREAMS 

ON LONGEVITY AND SHORTNESS OF LIFE 

ON YOUTH AND OLD AGE, ON LIFE AND DEATH, 

ON BREATHING 

VOLUME 9 
ARISTOTLE 

HISTORY OF ANIMALS ON THE PARTS OF ANIMALS 

ON THE MOTION OF ANIMALS ON THE GAIT OF ANIMALS 

ON THE GENERATION OF ANIMALS 

NICOMACHEAN ETHICS POLITICS 

THE ATHENIAN CONSTITUTION 

RHETORIC ON POETICS 



95 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 
VOLUME 10 

HIPPOCRATES (fl. 400 B.C.) 

THE OATH ON ANCIENT MEDICINE 

ON AIRS, WATERS, AND PLACES - THE BOOK OF PROGNOSTICS 

ON REGIMEN IN ACUTE DISEASES OF THE EPIDEMICS 

ON INJURIES OF THE HEAD ON THE SURGERY 

ON FRACTURES ON THE ARTICULATIONS 

INSTRUMENTS OF REDUCTION APHORISMS THE LAW 

ON ULCERS ON FISTULAE ON HEMORRHOIDS 

ON THE SACRED DISEASE 
GALEN (c. A.D. i 3 o-f. 200), ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES 

VOLUME 11 

EUCLID (fl. c. 300 B.C.), THE THIRTEEN BOOKS OF EUCLID'S 

ELEMENTS 
ARCHIMEDES (c. 287-212 B.C.) 

ON THE SPHERE AND CYLINDER 
MEASUREMENT OF A CIRCLE ON CONOIDS AND SPHEROIDS 

ON SPIRALS ON THE EQUILIBRIUM OF PLANES 
THE SAND-RECKONER QUADRATURE OF THE PARABOLA 

ON FLOATING BODIES BOOK OF LEMMAS 
THE METHOD TREATING OF MECHANICAL PROBLEMS 

APOLLONIUS OF PERGA (c. 262-^. 200 B.C.), ON CONIC SECTIONS 
NICOMACHUS OF GERASA (fl. c. A.D. 100), INTRODUCTION TO 
ARITHMETIC 

VOLUME 12 

LUCRETIUS (c. 9&-f. 55 B.C.), ON THE NATURE OF THINGS 
EPICTETUS (c. A.D. 6o-c. 138), THE DISCOURSES 
MARCUS AURELIUS (A.D. 121-180), THE MEDITATIONS 
96 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 
VOLUME 13 

VIRGIL (70-19 B.C.), THE ECLOGUES THE GEORGICS - THE AENEID 

VOLUME 14 

PLUTARCH (c. A.D. 4 6-c. 120), THE LIVES OF THE NOBLE GRE- 
CIANS AND ROMANS 



Theseus 

Romulus 

Romulus and Theseus Compared 

Lycurgus 

Numa Pompilius 

Lycurgus and Numa Compared 

Solon 

Poplicola 

Poplicola and Solon Compared 

Themistocles 

Camillus 

Pericles 

Fabius 

Fabius and Pericles Compared 

Alcibiades 

Coriolanus 

Alcibiades and Coriolanus 

Compared 
Timoleon 
Aemilius Paulus 
Aemilius Paulus and Timoleon 

Compared 
Pelopidas 
Marcellus 
Marcellus and Pelopidas 

Compared 
Aristides 



Marcus Cato 

Aristides and Marcus Cato 

Compared 
Philopoemen 
Flamininus 
Flamininus and Philopoemen 

Compared 
Pyrrhus 
Cairn Nlarius 
Lysander 
Sulla 

Lysander and Sulla Compared 
Cimon 
Lucullus 

Cimon and Lucullus Compared 
Nicias 
Crassus 

Crassus and Nicias Compared 
Sertorius 
Eumenes 

Eumenes and Sertorius Compared 
Agesilaus 
Pompey 

Agesilaus and Pompey Compared 
Alexander 
Caesar 
Phocion 



97 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

Cato the Younger Demetrius 

Agis Antony 

Cleomenes Antony and Demetrius Compared 

Tiberius Gracchus Dion 

Caius Gracchus Marcus Brutus 

Caius and Tiberius Gracchus and Brutus and Dion Compared 

Agis and Cleomenes Compared Aratus 

Demosthenes Artaxerxes 

Cicero Galba 

Demosthenes and Cicero Compared Otho 

VOLUME 15 

P. CORNELIUS TACITUS (c. A.D. 55 -c. 117), THE ANNALS THE 
HISTORIES 

VOLUME 16 

PTOLEMY (c. A.D. loo-c. 178), THE ALMAGEST 

NICOLAUS COPERNICUS (1473-1543), ON THE REVOLUTIONS OF 
THE HEAVENLY SPHERES 

JOHANNES KEPLER (1571-1630), EPITOME OF COPERNICAN AS- 
TRONOMY [Book IV-V] THE HARMONIES OF THE WORLD 
[Book V] 

VOLUME 17 
PLOTINUS (205-270), THE SIX ENNEADS 

VOLUME 18 

SAINT AUGUSTINE (354-430), THE CONFESSIONS THE CITY OF 
GOD ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE 

VOLUME 19 

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS (c. 1225-1274), SUMMA THEOLOGICA 
Treatise on God (Part I, QQ 1-26) 
Treatise on the Trinity (Part I, QQ 27-43) 
Treatise on the Creation (Part I, QQ 44-49) 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 

Treatise on the Angels (Part I, QQ 50-64) 

Treatise on the Work of the Six Days (Part I, QQ 65-74) 

Treatise on Man (Part I, QQ 75-102) 

Treatise on the Divine Government (Part I, QQ 103-119) 

Treatise on the Last End (Part i-n, QQ 1-5) 

Treatise on Human Acts (Part i-n, QQ 6-48) 

VOLUME 20 

SAINT THOMAS AQUINAS, SUMMA THEOLOGICA (cont.) 
Treatise on Habits (Part i-n, QQ 49-89) 
Treatise on Law (Part l-n, QQ 90-108) 
Treatise on Grace (Part i-n, QQ 109-114) 
Treatise on Faith, Hope and Charity (Part 11-11, QQ 1-46) 
Treatise on Active and Contemplative Life (Part ii-n, QQ 179-182) 
Treatise on the States of Life (Part n-n, QQ 183-189) 
Treatise on the Incarnation (Part in, QQ 1-26) 
Treatise on the Sacraments (Part in, QQ 60-65) 
Treatise on the Resurrection (Part in Supplement, QQ 69-86) 
Treatise on the Last Things (Part in Supplement, QQ 87-99) 

VOLUME 21 

DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265-1321), THE DIVINE COMEDY 

VOLUME 22 

GEOFFREY CHAUCER (c. 1340-1400) 
TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 
THE CANTERBURY TALES 

The Prologue The Reeve s Tale 

The Knights Tale The Cook's Prologue 

The Millers Prologue The Cook's Tale 

The Miller s Tale Introduction to the Man of Law's 

The Reeve s Prologue Prologue 



99 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



The Prologue of the Man of Law's 

Tale 

The Tale of the Man of Law 
The Wife of Bath's Prologue 
The Tale of the Wife of Bath 
The Friar s Prologue 
The Friars Tale 
The Summoners Prologue 
The Summoners Tale 
The Clerk's Prologue 
The Clerk's Tale 
The Merchant's Prologue 
The Merchant's Tale 
Epilogue to the Merchant's Tale 
The Squire s Tale 
The Words of the Franklin 
The Franklin's Prologue 
The Franklin's Tale 
The Physician s Tale 
The Words of the Host 
The Prologue of the Pardoner s Tale 
The Pardoner s Tale 

U Envoi 



The Shiftman's Prologue 

The Shiftman's Tale 

The Prioress's Prologue 

The Prioress's Tale 

Prologue to Sir Thoftas 

Sir Thoftas 

Prologue to Melibeus 

The Tale of Melibeus 

The Monk's Prologue 

The Monk's Tale 

The Prologue of the Nuns Priest's 

Tale 

The Nun's Priest's Tale 
Epilogue to the Nun's Priest's Tale 
The Second Nun's Prologue 
The Second Nun's Tale 
The Canon's Yeoman s Prologue 
The Canon's Yeoman's Tale 
The Manciple s Prologue 
The Manciple's Tale 
The Parson s Prologue 
The Parson s Tale 



VOLUME 23 

NICOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527), THE PRINCE 
THOMAS HOBBES (1588-1679), LEVIATHAN, OR, MATTER,FORM, 

AND POWER OF A COMMONWEALTH, ECCLESIASTICAL AND 

CIVIL 

VOLUME 24 

FRANCOIS RABELAIS (c. 1495-1553), GARGANTUA AND PAN- 
TAGRUEL 



100 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 
VOLUME 25 

MICHEL EYQUEM DE MONTAIGNE (1533-1592), ESSAYS 
That Men by Various Ways Arrive at Of the Force of Imagination 



the Same End 
Of Sorrow 
That Our Affections Carry Themselves 

Beyond Us 
That the Soul Discharges Her Passions 

Upon False Objects, Where the True 

are Wanting 



That the Profit of One Man is the 

Damage of Another 
Of Custom and That We Should Not 

Easily Change a Law Received 
Various Events from the Same 

Counsel 
Of Pedantry 



Whether the Governor of a Place Be- Of the Education of Children 
sieged Ought Himself to Go Out to That It is Folly to Measure Truth and 



Parky 

That the Hour of Parley is Dangerous 

That the Intention is Judge of Our 
Actions 

Of Idleness 

Of Liars 

Of Quick or Slow Speech 

Of Prognostications 

Of Constancy 

The Ceremony of the Interview of 
Princes 

That Men are Justly Punished for Be- 
ing Obstinate in the Defence of a 
Fort that is not in Reason to be De- 
fended 

Of the Punishment of Cowardice 

A Proceeding of Some Ambassadors 

Of Fear 

That Men are not to Judge of Our 
Happiness till After Death 

That to Study Philosophy is to Learn 
to Die 



Error by Our Own Capacity 

Of Friendship 

Nine-and-Twenty Sonnets of Estienne 
de La Boetie 

Of Moderation 

Of Cannibals 

That a Man is Soberly to Judge of the 
Divine Ordinances 

That We are to Avoid Pleasures, Even 
at the Expense of Life 

That Fortune is Oftentimes Observed to 
Act by the Rules of Reason 

Of One Defect in Our Government 

Of the Custom of Wearing Clothes 

Of Cato the Younger 

That We Laugh and Cry for the Same 
Thing 

Of Solitude 

A Consideration Upon Cicero 

That the Relish of Good and Evil De- 
pends in a Great Measure Upon the 
Opinion We Have of Them 
101 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



Not to Communicate a Mans Honour 

Of the Inequality Amongst Us 

Of Sumptuary Laws 

OfSleep 

Of the Battle ofDreux 

Of Names 

Of the Uncertainty of Our Judgment 

Of War-Horses, or Destriers 

Of Ancient Customs 

OfDemocritus and Heraclitus 

Of the Vanity of Words 

Of the Parsimony of the Ancients 

Of a Saying of Caesar 

Of Vain Subtleties 

Of Smells 

Of Prayers 

Of Age 

Of the Inconstancy of Our Actions 

Of "Drunkenness 

A Custom of the Isle of Cea 

To-morrow's a New Day 

Of Conscience 

Use Makes Perfect 

Of Recompenses of Honour 

Of the Affection of Fathers to Their 

Children 

Of the Arms of the Parthians 
Of Books 
Of Cruelty 

Apology for Raimond de Sehonde 
Of Judging of the Death of Another 



That the Mind Hinders Itself 
That Our Desires are Augmented by 

Difficulty 
Of Glory 
Of Presumption 
Of Giving the Lie 
Of Liberty of Conscience 
That We Taste Nothing Pure 
Against Idleness 
Of Posting 

Of III Means Employed to a Good End 
Of the Roman Grandeur 
Not to Counterfeit Being Sick 
Of Thumbs 

Cowardice the Mother of Cruelty 
All Things Have Their Season 
Of Virtue 

Of a Monstrous Child 
Of Anger 

Defence of Seneca and Plutarch 
The Story of Spur in a 
Observation on the Means to Carry on 

a War According to Julius Caesar 
Of Three Good Women 
Of the Most Excellent Men 
Of the Resemblance of Children to 

Their Fathers 
Of Profit and Honesty 
Of Repentance 
Of Three Commerces 
Of Diversion 



101 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 

Upon Some Verses of Virgil Of Vanity 

Of Coaches Of Managing the Will 

Of the Inconvenience of Greatness Of Cripples 
Of the Art of Conference Of Physiognomy 

Of Experience 

VOLUME 26 

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616) 

THE FIRST PART OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH 

THE SECOND PART OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH 

THE THIRD PART OF KING HENRY THE SIXTH 

THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD THE THIRD 

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS 

TITUS ANDRONICUS 

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW 

THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA 

LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST 

ROMEO AND JULIET 
THE TRAGEDY OF KING RICHARD THE SECOND 

A MIDSUMMER-NIGHT'S DREAM 
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF KING JOHN 

THE MERCHANT OP VENICE 

THE FIRST PART OF KING HENRY THE FOURTH 

THE SECOND PART OF KING HENRY THE FOURTH 

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING 

THE LIFE OP KING HENRY THE FIFTH 

JULIUS CAESAR AS YOU LIKE IT 

VOLUME 27 
WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE 

TWELFTH NIGHT; OR, WHAT YOU WILL 
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK 



103 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

THE MERRY WIVES OP WINDSOR 

TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 
ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS WELL 

MEASURE FOR MEASURE 
OTHELLO, THE MOOR OF VENICE 

KING LEAR MACBETH 

ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA 

CORIOLANUS TIMON OF ATHENS 

PERICLES, PRINCE OF TYRE CYMBELINE 

THE WINTER'S TALE THE TEMPEST 

THE FAMOUS HISTORY OF THE LIFE OF 

KING HENRY THE EIGHTH 

SONNETS 

VOLUME 28 

WILLIAM GILBERT (1540-1603), ON THE LOADSTONE AND MAG- 
NETIC BODIES 

GALILEO GALILEI (1564-1642), DIALOGUES CONCERNING THE 
TWO NEW SCIENCES 

WILLIAM HARVEY (1578-1657) 

ON THE MOTION OF THE HEART AND BLOOD IN ANIMALS 
ON THE CIRCULATION OF THE BLOOD 
ON THE GENERATION OF ANIMALS 

VOLUME 29 

MIGUEL DE CERVANTES (1547-1616), THE HISTORY OP DON 
QUIXOTE DE LA MANCHA 

VOLUME 30 

SIR FRANCIS BACON (1561-1626), ADVANCEMENT OP LEARN- 
ING NOVUM ORGANUM NEW ATLANTIS 



104 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 
VOLUME 31 

RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650) 

RULES FOR THE DIRECTION OF THE MIND 

DISCOURSE ON THE METHOD 

MEDITATIONS ON FIRST PHILOSOPHY 

OBJECTIONS AGAINST THE MEDITATIONS AND REPLIES 

THE GEOMETRY 
BENEDICT DE SPINOZA (1632-1677), ETHICS 

VOLUME 32 

JOHN MILTON (1608-1674) 
ENGLISH MINOR POEMS 

On the Morning of Christs Nati- 
vity and The Hymn 

A Paraphrase on Psalm 114 

Psalm 136 

The Passion 

On Time 

Upon the Circumcision 

At a Solemn Mustek 

An Epitaph on the Marchioness 
of Winchester 

Song on May Morning 

On Shakespear, 1630 

On the University Carrier 

Another on the Same 

L 9 Allegro 

II Penseroso 

Psalms, i- vm, LXXX-LXXXVIII 
PARADISE LOST 

SAMSON AGONISTES 
AREOPAGITICA 



Arcades 

Lycidas 

Comus 

On the Death of a Fair Infant 

At a Vacation Exercise 

The Fifth Ode of Horace. Lib. I 

Sonnets, I, vn-xix 

On the New Forcers of Conscience 

under the Long Parliament 
On the Lord Gen. Fairfax at the 

siege of Colchester 
To the Lord General/ Cromwell 

May 1652 

To Sr Henry Vane the Younger 
To Mr. Cyriack Skinner upon his 

Blindness 



105 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

VOLUME 33 

BLAISE PASCAL (1623-1662) 
THE PROVINCIAL LETTERS 
PENSEE5 

PREFACE TO THE TREATISE ON THE VACUUM 
NEW EXPERIMENTS CONCERNING THE VACUUM 
ACCOUNT OP THE GREAT EXPERIMENT CONCERNING THE 

EQUILIBRIUM OP FLUIDS 
TREATISES ON THE EQUILIBRIUM OP LIQUIDS AND ON THE 

WEIGHT OF THE MASS OP THE AIR 
ON GEOMETRICAL DEMONSTRATION 
TREATISE ON THE ARITHMETICAL TRIANGLE 
CORRESPONDENCE WITH PERMAT ON THE THEORY OP PROB- 
ABILITIES 

VOLUME 34 

SIR ISAAC NEWTON (1642-1727), MATHEMATICAL PRINCIPLES 

OF NATURAL PHILOSOPHY OPTICS 
CHRISTIAAN HUYGENS (1629-1695), TREATISE ON LIGHT 

VOLUME 35 

JOHN LOCKE (1632-1704) 
A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION 
CONCERNING CIVIL GOVERNMENT, SECOND ESSAY 
AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING 

GEORGE BERKELEY (1685-1753), THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN 
KNOWLEDGE 

DAVID HUME (1711-1776), AN ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN 
UNDERSTANDING 



106 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 
VOLUME 36 

JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745), GULLIVER'S TRAVELS 
LAURENCE STERNE (1713-1768), THE LIFE AND OPINIONS OP 
TRISTRAM SHANDY, GENT. 

VOLUME 37 

HENRY FIELDING (1707-1754), THE HISTORY OF TOM JONES, 
A FOUNDLING 

VOLUME 38 

CHARLES DE SECONDAT, BARON DB MONTESQUIEU (1689-1755), 

THE SPIRIT OP LAWS 
TEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU (1712-1778) 

A DISCOURSE ON THE ORIGIN OF INEQUALITY 

A DISCOURSE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY 

THE SOCIAL CONTRACT 

VOLUME 39 

ADAM SMITH (1723-1790), AN INQUIRY INTO THE NATURE AND 
CAUSES OF THE WEALTH OP NATIONS 

VOLUME 40 

EDWARD GIBBON (1737-1794), THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE 
ROMAN EMPIRE [Chapters 1-40] 

VOLUME 41 

EDWARD GIBBON, THE DECLINE AND PALL OF THE ROMAN 
EMPIRE (Cont.) [Chapters 41-71] 

VOLUME 42 

IMMANUEL KANT (1724-1804) 
THE CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON 

FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OP THE METAPHYSIC OP 
MORALS 

107 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 
THE CRITIQUE OP PRACTICAL REASON 

PREFACE AND INTRODUCTION TO THE METAPHYSICAL ELE- 
MENTS OP ETHICS WITH A NOTE ON CONSCIENCE 
GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO THE METAPHYSIC OF MORALS 
THE SCIENCE OF RIGHT 
THE CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT 

VOLUME 43 
AMERICAN STATE PAPERS 

THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE 

ARTICLES OP CONFEDERATION 

THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES OP AMERICA 
ALEXANDER HAMILTON (1757-1804), JAMES MADISON (1751- 

1836), JOHN JAY (1745-1829) 

THE FEDERALIST 

JOHN STUART MILL (1806-1873) 
ON LIBERTY 

REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT 
UTILITARIANISM 

VOLUME 44 

JAMES BOSWELL (1740-1795), THE LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON, 
LL.D. 

VOLUME 45 

ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER (1743-1794), ELEMENTS OF 
CHEMISTRY 

JEAN BAPTISTS JOSEPH FOURIER (1768-1830), ANALYTICAL 
THEORY OF HEAT [Preliminary Discourse, Ch. 1-2] 

MICHAEL FARADAY (1791-1867), EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHES 
IN ELECTRICITY 



108 



CONTENTS OF GREAT BOOKS 
VOLUME 46 

GEORG WILHELM FRIEDRICH HEGEL (1770-1831), THE PHILOS- 
OPHY OF RIGHT THE PHILOSOPHY OF HISTORY 

VOLUME 47 
FOHANN WOLFGANG VON GOETHE (1749-1832), FAUST 

VOLUME 48 

HERMAN MELVILLE (1819-1882), MOBY DICK; OR, THE WHALE 

VOLUME 49 

CHARLES DARWIN (1809-1882) 

THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES BY MEANS OP NATURAL SELECTION 
THE DESCENT OP MAN AND SELECTION IN RELATION TO SEX 

VOLUME 50 

KARL MARX (1818-1883), CAPITAL 

KARL MARX and FRIEDRICH ENGELS (1820-1895), MANIFESTO 
OP THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

VOLUME 51 

COUNT LEO TOLSTOY (1828-1910), WAR AND PEACE 

VOLUME 52 

FYODOR MIKHAILOVICH DOSTOEVSKY (1821-1881), THE 
BROTHERS KARAMAZOV 

VOLUME 53 

WILLIAM JAMES (1842-1910), THE PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY 

VOLUME 54 

SIGMUND FREUD (1856-1939) 

THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP PSYCHO-ANALYSIS 
SELECTED PAPERS ON HYSTERIA [Chapters i-io] 
THE SEXUAL ENLIGHTENMENT OF CHILDREN 
THE FUTURE PROSPECTS OF PSYCHO-ANALYTIC THERAPY 

109 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 

OBSERVATIONS ON "WILD" PSYCHO-ANALYSIS 

THE INTERPRETATION OF DREAMS 

ON NARCISSISM 

INSTINCTS AND THEIR VICISSITUDES , 

REPRESSION 

THE UNCONSCIOUS 

A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHO-ANALYSIS 

BEYOND THE PLEASURE PRINCIPLE 

GROUP PSYCHOLOGY AND THE ANALYSIS OF THE EGO 

THE EGO AND THE ID 

INHIBITIONS, SYMPTOMS, AND ANXIETY 

THOUGHTS FOR THE TIMES ON WAR AND DEATH 

CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS 

NEW INTRODUCTORY LECTURES ON PSYCHO-ANALYSIS 



no 



II: Ten Years oj 'Reading in 
Great Books of the Western World 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



FIRST YEAR 



1. PLATO: APOLOGY, CRITO 

Vol. 7, pp. 200-219 

2. ARISTOPHANES: CLOUDS, LYSISTRATA 

Vol. 5, pp. 488-506, 583-599 

3. PLATO: REPUBLIC [Book I-II] 

Vol. 7, pp. 295-324 

4. ARISTOTLE: ETHICS [Book I] 

Vol. 9, pp. 339-348 

5. ARISTOTLE: POLITICS [Book I] 

Vol. 9, pp. 445-455 

6. PLUTARCH: THE LIVES OF THE NOBLE GRECIANS AND 
ROMANS [Lycurgus, Numa Pompilius, Lycurgus and Numa Com- 
pared, Alexander, Caesar] 

Vol. 14, pp. 32-64, 540-604 

7. NEW TESTAMENT [The Gospel According to Saint Matthew, The 
Acts of the Apostles] 

8. ST. AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS [Book I-VIII] 

Vol. 1 8, pp. i -6 1 

9. MACHIAVELLI: THE PRINCE 

Vol. 23, pp. 1-37 

10. RABELAIS: GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL [Book I-II] 

Vol. 24, pp. 1-126 

11. MONTAIGNE: ESSAYS [Of Custom, and That We Should Not 
Easily Change a Law Received; Of Pedantry; Of the Education of 
Children; That It Is Folly to Measure Truth and Error by Our Own 

nz 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



Capacity; Of Cannibals; That the Relish of Good and Evil Depends 
in a Great Measure upon the Opinion We Have of Them; Upon Some 
Verses of Virgil] 
Vol. 25, pp. 42-51, 55-82, 91-98, 115-125, 406-434 

12. SHAKESPEARE: HAMLET 

Vol. 27, pp. 29-72 

13. LOCKE: CONCERNING CIVIL GOVERNMENT [Second Essay] 

Vol. 35, pp. 25-81 

14. ROUSSEAU: THE SOCIAL CONTRACT [Book I-II] 

Vol. 38, pp. 387-406 

15. GIBBON: THE DECLINE AND FALL OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE 
[Ch. 15-16] 

Vol. 40, pp. 179-234 

16. THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE, THE CONSTITU- 
TION OP THE UNITED STATES, THE FEDERALIST [Numbers 
i-io, 15, 31, 47, 51, 68-71] 

Vol. 43, pp. 1-3, 11-20, 29-53, 62-66, 103-105, 153-156, 162-165, 
205-216 

17. SMITH: THE WEALTH OF NATIONS [Introduction Book I, 
Ch. 9 ] 

Vol. 39, pp. 1-41 

18. MARX-ENGELS: MANIFESTO OP THE COMMUNIST PARTY 

Vol. 50, pp. 415-434 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



SECOND YEAR 



1. HOMER: THE ILIAD 

Vol. 4, pp. 3-179 

2. AESCHYLUS: AGAMEMNON, CHOEPHOROE, EUMENIDES 

Vol. 5, pp. 52-91 

3. SOPHOCLES: OEDIPUS THE KING, ANTIGONE 

Vol. 5, pp. 99-113, 131-142 

4. HERODOTUS: THE HISTORY [Book I-II] 

Vol. 6, pp. 1-88 

5. PLATO: MENO 

Vol. 7, pp. 174-190 

6. ARISTOTLE: POETICS 

Vol. 9, pp. 681-699 

7. ARISTOTLE: ETHICS [Book II; Book III, Ch. 5-12; Book VI, Ch. 
8-13] 

Vol. 9, pp. 348-355, 359-366, 390-394 

8. NICOMACHUS: INTRODUCTION TO ARITHMETIC 

Vol. ii, pp. 811-848 

9. LUCRETIUS: ON THE NATURE OP THINGS [Book MV] 

Vol. 12, pp. 1-61 

10. MARCUS AURELIUS: MEDITATIONS 

Vol. 12, pp. 253-310 

11. HOBBES: LEVIATHAN [Part I] 

Vol. 23, pp. 45-98 

12. MILTON: AREOPAGITICA 

Vol. 32, pp. 381-412 
114 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



13. PASCAL: PENSEES [Numbers 72, 82-83, , 128, 131, 139, 142- 
143, 171, 194-195! 219, 229, 233-234, 242, 273, 277, 282, 289, 298, 
303, 320, 323, 325, 330-331, 374, 385. 39 2 > 395-397, 49> 412-413, 
416, 418, 425, 430, 434-435, 463, 491, 525-531, 538, 543, 547, 553, 
556, 564, 571, 586, 598, 607-610, 613, 619-620, 631, 640, 644, 673, 
675, 684, 692-693, 737, 760, 768, 792-793] 

Vol. 33, pp. 181-184, 186-189, I 9 I " I 9 2 > 195-200, 203, 205-210, 
212-218, 222-225, 227, 229-232, 237-251, 255, 259, 264-275, 277- 
287, 290-291, 296-302, 318, 321-322, 326-327 

14. PASCAL: TREATISE ON THE ARITHMETICAL TRIANGLE 

Vol. 33, pp. 447-473 

15. SWIFT: GULLIVER'S TRAVELS 

Vol. 36, pp. xv-i84 

16. ROUSSEAU: A DISCOURSE ON THE ORIGIN OF INEQUALITY 

Vol. 38, pp. 323-366 

17. KANT: FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OP THE METAPHYSIC 
OP MORALS 

Vol. 42, pp. 253-287 

18. MILL: ON LIBERTY 

Vol. 43, pp. 267-323 



"5 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



THIRD YEAR 



1. AESCHYLUS: PROMETHEUS BOUND 

Vol. 5, pp. 40-51 

2. HERODOTUS: THE HISTORY [Book VII-IX] 

Vol. 6, pp. 214-314 

3. THUCYDIDES: THE HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR 
[Book I-II, V] 

Vol. 6, pp. 349-416, 482-508 

4. PLATO: STATESMAN 

Vol. 7, pp. 580-608 

5. ARISTOTLE: ON INTERPRETATION [Ch. i-io] 

Vol. 8, pp. 25-31 

6. ARISTOTLE -.POLITICS [Book HI-V] 

Vol. 9, pp. 471-519 

7. EUCLID: ELEMENTS [Book I] 

Vol. ii, pp. 1-29 

8. TACITUS: THE ANNALS 

Vol. 15, pp. 1-184 

9. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUM MA THEOLOGICA [Part I-II, QQ 
90-97] 

Vol. 20, pp. 205-239 

10. CHAUCER: TROILUS AND CRESSIDA 

Vol. 22, pp. I-I55 

11. SHAKESPEARE: MACBETH 

Vol. 27, pp. 284-310 
116 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



12. MILTON: PARADISE LOST 

Vol. 32, pp. 93-333 

13. LOCKE: AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING 
[Book III, Ch. 1-3,9-11] 

Vol. 35, pp. 251-260, 285-306 

14. KANT: SCIENCE OF RIGHT 

Vol. 42, pp. 397-458 

15. MILL: REPRESENTATIVE GOVERNMENT [Ch. 1-6] 

Vol. 43, pp. 327-370 

16. LAVOISIER: ELEMENTS OP CHEMISTRY [Part I] 

Vol. 45, pp. 1-52 

17. DOSTOEVSKY: THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV [Part I-II] 

Vol. 52, pp. 1-170 

18. FREUD: THE ORIGIN AND DEVELOPMENT OP PSYCHO- 
ANALYSIS 

Vol. 54, pp. 1-20 



"7 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



FOURTH YEAR 



1. EURIPIDES: MEDEA, HIPPOLYTUS, TROJAN WOMEN, THE 
BACCHANTES 

Vol. 5, pp. 212-236, 270-281, 340-352 

2. PLATO: REPUBLIC [Book VI-VII] 

Vol. 7, pp. 373-401 

3. PLATO: THEAETETUS 

Vol. 7, pp. 512-550 

4. ARISTOTLE: PHYSICS [Book IV, Ch. 1-5, 10-14] 

Vol. 8, pp. 287-292, 297-304 

5. ARISTOTLE: METAPHYSICS [Book I, Ch. 1-2; Book IV; Book 
VI, Ch. i ; Book XI, Ch. 1-4] 

Vol. 8, pp. 499-501, 522-532, 547-548, 587-590 

6. ST. AUGUSTINE: CONFESSIONS [Book IX-XIII] 

Vol. 18, pp. 61-125 

7. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I, QQ 
16-17, 84-88] 

Vol. 19, pp. 94-104, 440-473 

8. MONTAIGNE: APOLOGY FOR RAIMOND DE SEBONDE 

Vol. 25, pp. 208-294 

9. GALILEO: TWO NEW SCIENCES [Third Day, through Scholium 
of Theorem II] 

Vol. 28, pp. 197-210 

10. BACON: NOVUM ORGANUM [Preface, Book I] 

Vol. 30, pp. 105-136 

11. DESCARTES: DISCOURSE ON THE METHOD 

Vol. 31, pp. 41-67 
118 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



12. NEWTON: MATHEMATICAL PRINCIPLES OP NATURAL 
PHILOSOPHY [Prefaces, Definitions, Axioms, General Scholium] 

Vol. 34, pp. 1-24, 369-372 

13. LOCKE: AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING 
[Book II] 

Vol. 35, pp. 121-251 

14. HUME: ^N ENQUIRY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTAND- 
ING 

Vol. 35, pp. 450-509 

15. KANT: CRITIQUE OP PURE REASON [Prefaces, Introduction, 

Transcendental Aesthetic] 
Vol. 42, pp. 1-33 

16. MELVILLE: MOBY DICK 

Vol. 48 

17. DOSTOEVSKY: THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV [Part III-IV] 

Vol. 52, pp. 171-412 

18. JAMES: PRINCIPLES OP PSYCHOLOGY [Ch. XV, XX] 

Vol. 53, pp. 396-420, 540-635 



119 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



FIFTH YEAR 



1. PLATO: PHAEDO 

Vol. 7, pp. 220-251 

2. ARISTOTLE: CATEGORIES 

Vol. 8, pp. 5-21 

3. ARISTOTLE: ON THE SOUL [Book II, Ch. 1-3; Book III] 

Vol. 8, pp. 642-645, 656-668 

4. HIPPOCRATES: THE OATH; ON ANCIENT MEDICINE; ON 
AIRS, WATERS, AND PLACES; THE BOOK OF PROGNOSTICS; 
OF THE EPIDEMICS; THE LAW; ON THE SACRED DISEASE 

Vol. 10, pp. xiii-26, 44-63, 144, 154-160 

5. GALEN: ON THE NATURAL FACULTIES 

Vol. 10, pp. 167-215 

6. VIRGIL: THE AENEID 

Vol. 13, pp. 103-379 

7. PTOLEMY: THE ALMAGEST [Book I, Ch. 1-8] 
COPERNICUS: REVOLUTIONS OF THE HEAVENLY SPHERES 
[Introduction Book I, Ch. 1 1] 

KEPLER: EPITOME OP COPERNICAN ASTRONOMY [Book IV, 
Part II, Ch. 1-2] 
Vol. 16, pp. 5-14, 505-532, 887-895 

8. PLOTINUS: SIXTH ENNEAD 

Vol. 17, pp. 252-360 

9. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I, QQ 
75-76, 78-79] 

Vol. 19, pp. 378-399, 407-427 
no 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



10. DANTE: THE DIVINE COMEDY [Hell] 

Vol. 21, pp. 1-52 

11. HARVEY: THE MOTION OF THE HEART AND BLOOD 

Vol. 28, pp. 267-304 

12. CERVANTES: DON QUIXOTE [Part I] 

Vol. 29, pp. xi-204 

13. SPINOZA: ETHICS [Part II] 

Vol. 31, pp. 373-394 

14. BERKELEY: THE PRINCIPLES OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGE 

Vol. 35, pp. 403-444 

15. KANT: CRITIQUE OF PURE REASON [Transcendental Analytic] 

Vol. 42, pp. 34-108 

16. DARWIN: THE OKIG/N OF SPECIES [Introduction Ch. 6, Ch. 15] 

Vol. 49, pp. 6-98, 230-243 

17. TOLSTOY: WAR AND PEACE [Book I-VIII] 

Vol. 51, pp. 1-341 

18. JAMES: PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY [Ch. XXVIII] 

Vol. 53, pp. 851-897 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



SIXTH YEAR 



1. OLD TESTAMENT [Genesis, Exodus, Deuteronomy] 

2. HOMER: THE ODYSSEY 

Vol. 4, pp. 183-322 

3. PLATO: LAWS [Book X] 

Vol. 7, pp. 757-771 

4. ARISTOTLE: METAPHYSICS [Book XII] 

Vol. 8, pp. 598-606 

5. TACITUS: THE HISTORIES 

Vol. 15, pp. 189-302 

6. PLOTINUS: FIFTH ENNEAD 

Vol. 17, pp. 208-251 

7. ST. AUGUSTINE: THE CITY OP GOD [Book XV-XVIII] 

Vol. 1 8, pp. 397-507 

8. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I, QQ 

1-13] 

Vol. 19, pp. 3-75 

9. DANTE: THE DIVINE COMEDY [Purgatory] 

Vol. 21, pp. 53-105 

10. SHAKESPEARE: COMEDY OF ERRORS, THE TAMING OP THE 
SHREW, AS YOU LIKE IT, TWELFTH NIGHT 

Vol. 26, pp. 149-169, 199-228, 597-626; Vol. 27, pp. 1-28 

11. SPINOZA: ETHICS [Part I] 

Vol. 31, pp. 355-372 

12. MILTON: SAMSON AGONISTES 

Vol. 32, pp. 337-378 
in 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



13. PASCAL: THE PROVINCIAL LETTERS 

Vol. 33, pp. 1-167 

14. LOCKE: AN ESSAY CONCERNING HUMAN UNDERSTANDING 
[Book IV] 

Vol. 35, pp. 307-395 

15. GIBBON: THE DECLINE AND PALL OP THE ROMAN EMPIRE 
[Ch. 1-5, General Observations on the Fall of the Roman Empire 
in the West] 

Vol. 40, pp. 1-51, 630-634 

16. KANT: CRITIQUE OP PURE REASON [Transcendental Dialectic] 

Vol. 42, pp. 108-209 

17. HEGEL: PHILOSOPHY OP HISTORY [Introduction] 

Vol. 46, pp. 153-206 

18. TOLSTOY: WAR AND PEACE [Book IX-XV, Epilogues] 

Vol. 51, pp. 342-696 



1x3 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



SEVENTH YEAR 



1. OLD TESTAMENT [Job, Isaiah, Amos] 

2. PLATO: SYMPOSIUM 

Vol. 7, pp. 149-173 

3. PLATO: PHILEBUS 

Vol. 7, pp. 609-639 

4. ARISTOTLE: ETHICS [Book VIII-X] 

Vol. 9, pp. 406-436 

5. ARCHIMEDES: MEASUREMENT OF A CIRCLE, THE EQUI- 
LIBRIUM OP PLANES [Book I], THE SAND-RECKONER, ON 
FLOATING BODIES [Book I] 

Vol. ii, pp. 447-451. 502-509, 520-526, 538-542 

6. EPICTETUS: DISCOURSES 

Vol. 12, pp. 105-245 

7. PLOTINUS: FIRST ENNEAD 

Vol. 17, pp. 1-34 

8. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I-II, QQ 

i-5] 
Vol. 19, pp. 609-643 

9. DANTE: THE DIVINE COMEDY [Paradise] 

Vol. 21, pp. 106-157 

10. RABELAIS: GARGANTUA AND PANTAGRUEL [Book III-IV] 

Vol. 24, pp. 127-312 

11. SHAKESPEARE: JULIUS CAESAR, ANTONY AND CLEOPA- 
TRA, CORIOLANUS 

Vol. 26, pp. 568-596; Vol. 27, pp. 311-392 
114 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



12. GALILEO: TWO NEW SCIENCES [First Day] 

Vol. 28, pp. 131-177 

13. SPINOZA: ETHICS [Part IV-V] 

Vol. 31, pp. 422-463 

14. NEWTON: MATHEMATICAL PRINCIPLES OF NATURAL 
PHILOSOPHY [Book III, Rules], OPTICS [Book I, Part I; Book III, 
Queries] 

Vol. 34, pp. 270-271, 379-423. 516-544 

15. HUYGENS: TREATISE ON LIGHT 

Vol. 34, pp. 551-619 

16. KANT: CRITIQUE OF PRACTICAL REASON 

Vol. 42, pp. 291-361 

17. KANT: CRITIQUE OF JUDGEMENT [Critique of Aesthetic Judge- 
ment] 

Vol. 42, pp. 461-549 

18. MILL: UTILITARIANISM 

Vol. 43, pp. 445-476 



115 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



EIGHTH YEAR 



1. ARISTOPHANES: THESMOPHORIAZUSAE, ECCLESIAZUSAE, 
PLUTUS 

Vol. 5, pp. 600-642 

2. PLATO: GORGIAS 

Vol. 7, pp. 252-294 

3. ARISTOTLE: ETHICS [Book V] 

Vol. 9, pp. 376-387 

4. ARISTOTLE: RHETORIC [Book I, Ch. i Book II, Ch. i; Book II, 
Ch. 20 Book III, Ch. i; Book III, Ch. 13-19] 

Vol. 9, pp. 593-6 2 3> 640-654, 667-675 

5. ST. AUGUSTINE: ON CHRISTIAN DOCTRINE 

Vol. 18, pp. 619-698 

6. HOBBES: LEVIATHAN [Part II] 

Vol. 23, pp. 99-164 

7. SHAKESPEARE: OTHELLO, KING LEAR 

Vol. 27, pp. 205-283 

8. BACON: ADVANCEMENT OP LEARNING [Book I, Ch. i Book 
II, Ch. n] 

Vol. 30, pp. 1-55 

9. DESCARTES: MEDITATIONS ON THE FIRST PHILOSOPHY 

Vol. 31, pp. 69-103 

10. SPINOZA: ETHICS [Part III] 

Vol. 31, pp. 395-422 

11. LOCKE: A LETTER CONCERNING TOLERATION 

Vol. 35, pp. 1-22 
116 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



12. STERNE: TRISTRAM SHANDY 

Vol. 36, pp. 190-556 

13. ROUSSEAU: A DISCOURSE ON POLITICAL ECONOMY 

Vol. 38, pp. 367-385 

14. ADAM SMITH: THE WEALTH OF NATIONS [Book II] 

Vol. 39, pp. 117-162 

15. BOSWELL: THE LIFE OF SAMUEL JOHNSON 

Vol. 44, pp. 49-55, 104-139, 159-17$, 247-262, 281-322 

16. MARX: CAPITAL [Prefaces, Part I-II] 

Vol. 50, pp. 1-84 

17. GOETHE: FAUST [Part I] 

Vol. 47, pp. i-"4 

18. JAMES: PRINCIPLES OP PSYCHOLOGY [Ch. VIII-X] 

Vol. 53, pp. 130-259 



117 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



NINTH YEAR 



1. PLATO: THE SOPHIST 

Vol. 7, pp. 551-579 

2. THUCYDIDES: THE HISTORY OF THE PELOPONNESIAN 
WAR [Book VII-VIII] 

Vol. 6, pp. 538-593 

3. ARISTOTLE: POLITICS [Book VII-VIII] 

Vol. 9, pp. 527-548 

4. APOLLONIUS: ON CONIC SECTIONS [Book I, Prop. 1-15; Book 
III, Prop. 42-55] 

Vol. 11, pp. 603-624, 780-797 

5. NEW TESTAMENT [The Gospel According to Saint John, The 
Epistle of Paul the Apostle to the Romans, The First Epistle of Paul 
the Apostle to the Corinthians] 

6. ST. AUGUSTINE: THE CITY OF GOD [Book V, XIX] 

Vol. 1 8, pp. 207-230, 507-530 

7. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part II-II, 

QQ 1-7] 

Vol. 20, pp. 380-416 

8. GILBERT: ON THE LOADSTONE 

Vol. 28, pp. I-I2I 

9. DESCARTES: RULES FOR THE DIRECTION OF THE MIND 

Vol. 31, pp. 1-40 

10. DESCARTES: GEOMETRY 
Vol. 31, pp. 295-353 
118 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



11. PASCAL: THE GREAT EXPERIMENT CONCERNING THE EQUI- 
LIBRIUM OF FLUIDS, ON GEOMETRICAL DEMONSTRATION 

Vol. 33, pp. 382-389, 430-446 

12. FIELDING: TOM JONES 

Vol. 37 

13. MONTESQUIEU: THE SPIRIT OF LAWS [Book I-V, VIII, XI- 
XII] 

Vol. 38, pp. 1-33, 51-58, 68-96 

14. FOURIER: ANALYTICAL THEORY OF HEAT [Preliminary 
Discourse, Ch. 1-2] 

Vol. 45, pp. 169-251 

15. FARADAY: EXPERIMENTAL RESEARCHES IN ELECTRICITY 
[Series I-II], A SPECULATION TOUCHING ELECTRIC CON- 
DUCTION AND THE NATURE OF MATTER 

Vol. 45, pp. 265-302, 850-855 

16. HEGEL: PHILOSOPHY OF RIGHT [Part III] 

Vol. 46, pp. 55-114 

17. MARX: CAPITAL [Part III-IV] 

Vol. 50, pp. 85-250 

18. FREUD: CIVILIZATION AND ITS DISCONTENTS 

Vol. 54, pp. 767-802 



119 



THE GREAT CONVERSATION 



TENTH YEAR 



1. SOPHOCLES: AJAX, ELECTRA 

Vol. 5, pp. 143-169 

2. PLATO: TIMAEUS 

Vol. 7, pp. 442-477 

3. ARISTOTLE: ON THE PARTS OP ANIMALS [Book I, Ch. i- 
Book II, Ch. i], ON THE GENERATION OP ANIMALS [Book I, 
Ch. i, 17-18, 20-23] 

Vol. 9, pp. 161-171, 255-256, 261-266, 268-271 

4. LUCRETIUS: ON THE NATURE OP THINGS [Book V-VI] 

Vol. 12, pp. 61-97 

5. VIRGIL: THE ECLOGUES, THE GEORGICS 

Vol. 13, pp. 3-99 

6. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I, QQ 

65-74] 
Vol. 19, pp. 339-377 

7. ST. THOMAS AQUINAS: SUMMA THEOLOGICA [Part I, QQ 
90-102] 

Vol. 19, pp. 480-527 

8. CHAUCER: CANTERBURY TALES [Prologue, Knight's Tale, 
Miller's Prologue and Tale, Reeve's Prologue and Tale, Wife of 
Bath's Prologue and Tale, Friar's Prologue and Tale, Summoner's 
Prologue and Tale, Pardoner's Prologue and Tale] 

Vol. 22, pp. 159-232, 256-295, 372-382 
130 



TEN YEARS OF READING 



9. SHAKESPEARE: THE TRAGEDY OP KING RICHARD II, THE 
FIRST PART OP KING HENRY IV, THE SECOND PART OP KING 
HENRY IV, THE LIFE OF KING HENRY V 
Vol. 26, pp. 320-351, 434-502. 532-567 

10. HARVEY: ON THE GENERATION OP ANIMALS [Introduction 
Exercise 62] 

Vol. 28, pp. 331-470 

11. CERVANTES: DON QUIXOTE [Part II] 

Vol. 29, pp. 203-429 

12. KANT: CRITIQUE OP JUDGEMENT [Critique of Teleological 
Judgement] 

Vol. 42, pp. 550-613 

13. BOSWELL: THE LIFE OP SAMUEL JOHNSON 

Vol. 44, pp. 354-364, 373-384. 39 I ~407. 498-515, 584-587 

14. GOETHE: FAUST [Part II] 

Vol. 47, pp. 115-294 

15. DARWIN: THE DESCENT OP MAN [Part I; Part III, Ch. 21] 

Vol. 49, pp. 255-363, 590-597 

16. MARX: CAPITAL [Part VII-VIII] 

Vol. 50, pp. 279-383 

17. JAMES: PRINCIPLES OP PSYCHOLOGY [Ch. I, V-VII] 

Vol. 53, pp. 1-7, 84-129 

18. FREUD: A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO PSYCHO-ANALYSIS 

Vol. 54, PP- 449-638 



Printed la the U.S. A. 



THE GREAT IDE AS, Volumes 2 and 3 



ANGEL 
ANIMAL 
ARISTOCRACY 
ART 

ASTRONOMY 
BEAUTY 
BEING 
CAUSE 
CHANCE 
CHANGE 
CITIZEN 
CONSTITUTION 
COURAGE 
CUSTOM AND 
CONVENTION 
DEFINITION 
DEMOCRACY 
DESIRE 
DIALECTIC 
DUTY 

EDUCATION 
ELEMENT 
EMOTION 
ETERNITY 
EVOLUTION 
EXPERIENCE 



FAMILY 

FATE 

FORM 

GOD 

GOOD AND EVIL 

GOVERNMENT 

HABIT 

HAPPINESS 

HISTORY 

HONOR 

HYPOTHESIS 

IDEA 

IMMORTALITY 

INDUCTION 

INFINITY 

JUDGMENT 

JUSTICE 

KNOWLEDGE 

LABOR 

LANGUAGE 

LAW 

LIBERTY 

LIFE AND DEATH 

LOGIC 

LOVE 

MAN 

MATHEMATICS 



THE GREAT IDEAS, Volumes 2 and 3 



MATTER 
MECHANICS 
MEDICINE 
MEMORY AND 

IMAGINATION 
METAPHYSICS 
MIND 

MONARCHY 
NATURE 
NECESSITY AND 

CONTINGENCY 
OLIGARCHY 
ONE AND MANY 
OPINION 
OPPOSITION 
PHILOSOPHY 
PHYSICS 

PLEASURE AND PAIN 
POETRY 
PRINCIPLE 
PROGRESS 
PROPHECY 
PRUDENCE 
PUNISHMENT 
QUALITY 
QUANTITY 
REASONING 



RELATION 

RELIGION 

REVOLUTION 

RHETORIC 

SAME AND OTHER 

SCIENCE 

SENSE 

SIGN AND SYMBOL 

SIN 

SLAVERY 

SOUL 

SPACE 

STATE 

TEMPERANCE 

THEOLOGY 

TIME 

TRUTH 

TYRANNY 

UNIVERSAL AND 

PARTICULAR 
VIRTUE AND VICE 
WAR AND PEACE 
WEALTH 
WILL 
WISDOM 
WORLD